Las Vegas Springs Preserve A Costly Project

The Las Vegas Review Journal ran a story this morning about the failure (at least so far) of the Las Vegas Springs Preserve.

The article outlines how the Preserve has failed to achieve ticket sales forecasts, and how Las Vegas water ratepayers are having to subsidize its ongoing operations.

So far, taxpayers have spent $235-million putting it together (the state museum is still under construction). In the one year it has been open, just over 200,000 people have been onto the grounds. Dividing the cost into the number of visitors equals over $1,000 per customer.

The $1,000 per customer cost is merely the capital cost. It turns out the Preserve is operating at a gaping loss as well – with a $10-million first year estimate, the operating loss will run another $50 per customer (the most customers pay is $15 per person; though with an annual family pass costing $75 covering up to seven people in for unlimited visits, the average customer fee is a tiny fraction of $15).

Worse, “the Preserve’s first few days were among its busiest.” In other words, there is some doubt the second year utilization will be any better than the first year, so the operating loss could get worse next year.

At the end of the day, taxpayers paid over $1,000 per visitor and will pay another $50 per visitor per year to make the Springs Preserve experience happen – all without setting foot onto the grounds.

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