SACRAMENTO COUNTY — Sacramento County Board of Supervisors met Tuesday to talk about the future of the troubled Gibson Ranch in Elverta.
In 2009, Sacramento County was forced to shut down the park due to heavy financial losses. Then in April, 2011, the County decided to lease it to a private operator. Congressman Doug Ose’s company, GRP 2011 LLC, agreed to manage the park and be liable for all losses. Ose admitted he expected to lose money for the first few years. But in the last five and a half years, he said he lost a total of $230,000.
“I can’t afford to lose money. There comes a limit, and we’re there,” Ose said.
In 2015, the park hosted two large events. The City of Trees and Aftershock music festivals. But the next year, both events found different venues that provided better suitable electricity, parking, bathrooms, and stages. That’s where they saw a huge loss.
In 2015, the park made a slim $22,000. Last year, they lost $60,000. Ose also attributed his losses to changes in labor laws.
“We had significant regulatory changes, for instance minimum wage,” Ose said. “If it goes up $1 and you have five people, for a year it could be $70,000.”
At the meeting, everyone agreed up front that closing the park was not an option. Not only does it actually cost the county money to close it, supervisors agreed it is too important of an asset to the community.
So they came up with other options:
- The County writes a new, more sustainable contract with Ose.
- The county calls for bids from other operating managers to work with the County.
- Have the County be the sole operator of the park again, and hire contractors for specific jobs like the equine center and wedding venues.
- Go back to the drawing board.
In the end, Supervisors agreed, they need to crunch some more numbers to see what option would serve the community best, so they chose Option 4.
For now, Ose’s company will continue operating the venue for the next few transitionary months, while the County finds a solution.