By Ashley Barker
Published June 24, 2014
If budget estimates for fiscal year 2015 prove correct, Patriots Point will earn the most revenue in its history in the coming year.
Executive Director Mac Burdette said total revenue is projected to be around $11.6 million, a 14% increase from the current year.
“This is an important milestone,” Burdette said. “We’re very excited to be able to make that projection, and we think that’s conservative.”
Patriots Point Development Authority approved a $12 million spending plan for fiscal 2015, about $2.5 million more than what was spent in fiscal 2014.
Burdette said Patriots Point, home of the USS Yorktown, reached its goal of selling 260,000 tickets in one year a year ahead of schedule. By fiscal 2017, the goal is to sell 300,000 tickets a year.
“In the next three years, unless the ocean that is Charleston tourism rises remarkably, we’re going to be stealing (customers) from someone else. In order to do that, you’ve got to have a superior product and let people know what’s going on,” Burdette said Friday during an authority board meeting. “The theme, if there is one for this budget, is improve the product and promote the product.”
The authority board approved a budget that projects $9.2 million in operating revenue for fiscal 2015, which begins July 1. That’s a projected increase of $765,000 when compared with the current year. Revenue from leases next fiscal year is expected to total $1.6 million, and Burdette said that number should increase in the next three years.
Non-operating revenue, which includes grants, donations and interest income, is predicted to be nearly $800,000.
The authority’s budget includes new exhibits in various parts of the museum, the addition of distance learning programs, overnight camping activity enhancements, improvements in food service and event space, restoration of the USS Yorktown and transfer of the USS Clamagore submarine.
Marketing, advertising and social media promotion for the attraction will also be expanded. Construction of a new dining facility on board the USS Yorktown is expected to start in a few weeks, Burdette said.
If the budget is followed exactly, Burdette said the authority would still have more than $5 million in the bank to prepare for the following year. In fiscal 2016 and 2017, he said even more money will be needed to finish the museum’s master plan.
Reach staff writer Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker on Twitter.