Difficult winter season cause for Hawaiian Falls layoffs

In the midst of a tough winter offseason, water park operator Hawaiian Falls laid off 12 full-time employees in December, according to a water park spokesman.

Despite the layoffs, Hawaiian Falls spokesman David Alvey said the company is financially solvent, season pass ticket sales have increased year over year and about two dozen events are planned at the Pflugerville location's Aloha Event Center in the coming months.

The company operates Hawaiian Falls Water and Adventure Park in Pflugerville as well as six other water parks in Texas.

"The winter season is always the most challenging for amusement companies. In addition, construction costs for our new adventure parks were higher than anticipated, making our off-season cash flow even more difficult," Alvey said in a Dec. 18 email. "We are simply making adjustments to our business plan. Our business model has proven very successful."

The company is also preparing to hire more than 300 seasonal employees at job fairs in March and April, Alvey said.

In a Dec. 13 Hawaiian Falls statement, the company said it was furloughing some seasonal employees—a normal procedure—but it did not specify the extent of the furloughs.

Hawaiian Falls operates the Pflugerville water park, but the city of Pflugerville owns the park and has secured the $25 million loan for the project. Hawaiian Falls pays the loan payments each month, and taxpayers are not affected by the cost of the park, said Floyd Akers, executive director of the Pflugerville Community Development Corp.

The PCDC brokered the deal to bring Hawaiian Falls to Pflugerville and it oversees the loan payments. The water park opened in June.

Akers said Hawaiian Falls is financially stable and has been paying its bills on time.

"Hawaiian Falls is a good solid company. We have a 30-year contract with Hawaiian Falls," Akers said. "They are current on all their payments, and they have been a great partner, and the park is going to be a great success in Pflugerville."