Santa’s Village is expanding its water park with the help of a $1.75million bond sale approved by East Dundee Village Council on Monday.
The money will allow the amusement park to add an 800-linear-foot lazy river, central spray deck, private full-service cabanas and a second dining venue at Santa Springs Water Park, part of the amusement park site.
Under the agreement, Santa’s Village will repay 65% of the bond debt, including principal, interest and the cost of the bond issue over a seven-year term, officials said. The remaining 35% will be paid for with money from the Village’s Dundee Crossings Tax Incremental Funding District.
The funds will not cover the cost of a second proposed project that involves restoring the amusement park’s Polar Dome as a skating rink and adding a sit-down restaurant.
“There is a certain level of risk involved in (issuing the bonds), but the past performance (of the amusement park) has been solid,” village administrator Erika Storlie said.
“The water park is working very well, especially with the temperatures we have experienced. And so, there is a high degree of confidence that they can execute on this project and then follow through with a repayment commitment.
Santa Claus Village owner Jason Sierpien presented plans for the park’s expansion to the village council earlier this year when applying for financial assistance.
Sierpien said their projections show the expansion will increase the water park’s capacity by about 600 people and create an additional 30 new jobs. Entertainment tax revenue is expected to increase by about $150,000 in the first year and reach more than $450,000 in five years, he said.
The additional amenities will also help make Santa Springs even more of a water park destination than it already is, Sierpien said.
“This type (of addition) really puts us on the map as a water park in the region,” he said in April. “The water park seems to be our number one driver. It absolutely needs to be enlarged. »
Originally opened as Racing Rapids in 1983, the water park has undergone roughly $2.5 million in renovations in recent years, he said.
With funding in place, construction could begin this fall and new amenities available for the park’s 2023 season.
“I like the idea of helping out, especially if they’re going to expand this,” Village President Jeff Lynam said at Monday’s board meeting. “We will see an increase in the number of guests coming to Santa Claus Village. The idea is to grow. »
Sierpien also said in April that they plan to renovate the 16,000-square-foot ice rink and 6,000-square-foot dining area at the 60-year-old Polar Dome. The Alpine Room would become a high-quality dining venue for skaters and the general public and the Polar Dome would have a snack bar, a full bar with video games and a game room, he said.
When completed, they anticipate it would generate additional revenue of $1.5 million to $2.5 million per year, he said.
Currently, Paintball Explosion has a lease to use the Polar Dome, but that agreement expires this year.
Gloria Casas is a freelance journalist for The Courier-News.