(Atlantic) Atlantic Park and Recreation Director Roger Herring reviewed their summer recreation programs and recommendations to get their program more financially solvent at their meeting Monday night.
Herring recommended a number of operational and program changes to trim the losses they have seen at the swimming pool.
“Changes will be directed towards increasing daily attendance, create better efficiency and hours available to the public, and have some specialty activities and events,” said Herring. “What I mean by that is we would like to identify four to six days that we would have ‘theme days’, where we could have half-price hot dog day, come dressed as a clown and you get in free, bring a friend; something like that to generate some enthusiasm and create some other activities.”
Herring said last summer was not a good season for the pool because of the weather; therefore their attendance and revenues were down. Herring has recommended decreasing the number of days they are open by opening Memorial Day weekend or the day after school ends and then close the day before school begins. Daily hours would change from 1:00 to 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. He also recommended reducing the number of lifeguards and have them work more hours, and also eliminate some of the concession stand personnel. Admission fees would change to $4 for ages 12 and older and $3 for ages 3 to 11. Family passes would be lowered from $105 to $90, and the prices for the punch cards would change as well. Herring would like to hire an on-site manager to work at least 36 hours per week and buy additional equipment for the pool so they can have activities like water basketball and volleyball. Party fees would remain the same, but the hours for parties would change to 6 to 8 p.m.
Herring also recommended discontinuing the playground program because of costs and also because the YMCA has stepped up to offer a similar program.
“It’s a difficult decision, but in talking to the “Y” and looking over the financial part of the playground program, the question surfaces; should we be in this business at all when the “Y” offers so many diverse programs and is their area of expertise,” said Herring. “They “Y” has indicated that they are willing to offer a similar program and provide the kinds of crafts and activities for that same group of kids. And also another critical piece that we included the last two years is the lunch program.”
As far as some of the other programs, Herring said they are looking to raise youth tennis fees by five dollars to generate some more revenue and help lower the loss that they had. They will continue their men’s slow pitch program with the same costs and format. Herring said he is looking into an end-of-the-season fundraiser tournament and having concessions throughout the season for more revenue to use towards continued facility improvements. They are also in conversations to have co-ed softball. And, Herring said their swim team program continues to be a success. He said they will be advertising for a summer swim coach since Dean Junker is taking the summer off. They are also searching for a new conference to compete in due to a negative experience they had at the end of last summer with their current conference. Herring said they may also look into becoming independent and host their own competitions. Meanwhile, swim team fees will remain the same.
The Atlantic Park and Recreation Board approved Herring’s recommendations.