Archive for Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fewer swimmers surface at outdoor aquatic center

Some Lawrence swimmers say pool price increases have made a difference in how often they use the center.

July 6, 2008


Andrew Goates, 2, plays in a fountain at the Lawrence Outdoor Aquatic Center.

Andrew Goates, 2, plays in a fountain at the Lawrence Outdoor Aquatic Center.

They blame the mild month of June, not the higher swimming fees.

Recreational swimming attendance at Lawrence's Outdoor Aquatic Center, 727 Ky., has decreased by about 3,300 swimmers from this point in 2007 - from 65,650 people to 62,357 through June 30.

"It just hasn't got quite as warm as normal during this time of year," said Lori Madaus, the city's aquatics supervisor.

As temperatures hit 90 degrees last week, Lawrence Parks and Recreation staffers said they were hoping more families would want to take a dip. But June had lower-than-average temperatures as well as 7.6 inches of rain, compared with the normal 5.63 inches, said Jennifer Schack, 6News chief meteorologist.

So far, the pool has closed early only twice and opened late once this year because of weather, Madaus said.

Outdoor swimmers this summer have also had to deal with higher rates. Five- to 12-year-olds pay $3, up from $1.75 last year, and 13- to 17-year-old swimmers also pay $3, up from $2.50. Adults pay $4 instead of $3.75.

"It looks like the same people are coming back. We're seeing a lot of the same faces. We haven't really had a whole lot of issues with the price increase. Most of it is the weather," Madaus said.

Zhade Wray, a Eudora sixth-grader, said the higher fees haven't deterred him. He enjoys the diving board, and he spends most summer afternoons in Lawrence with his grandparents while his dad works. Sometimes, though, if there was a threat of a storm, he'd stay home or go to the Eudora pool.

"It's pretty much the same with me," he said. "I still come here a lot."

Ernie Shaw, the interim parks and recreation director, said the slightly lower attendance through June is not a major concern. With the higher prices, the department is on target to hit budget for revenue from entry fees; without them, the city would be down 4 percent, he said.

Staffers have had few people question the higher fees, he said, and the department is fighting increased utility and maintenance costs. For all city aquatics facilities, entry fees make up about 50 percent of revenue.

"We'd love to see a good July," Shaw said. "That's for sure."

Fewer swimmers surface at outdoor aquatic center

Fewer swimmers are taking dips at Lawrence's outdoor pool this Summer. The city says pool attendance is down 3,300 people from the same time last year.


Nikki May 9 years, 11 months ago

Are you serious? It's HOT in the little kids side. It's like a freaking bathtub. tells all about it.

wildcat86 9 years, 11 months ago

you all are complaining about how expensive it is to go swimming when you have to pay 7-8 bucks to go see a movie now. come on now. i understand that you probably only go see a movie every once and awhile, but when you think about it, one movie can add up to at least two visits to the pool if not 3. if you can afford to go to a movie then you can afford to go to the pool. i've had so many people tell me that the pool prices are still cheap even though they've gone up a little bit.the guards do tell the kids that if they are going to be in the lanes they need to swim. the problem is, the kids sass back and don't listen to authority. parents seriously just drop their kids off at the pools and use them as a babysitting option so they aren't going to listen all the time.

Bradford Hoopes 9 years, 11 months ago

For us, it's the higher fees, too. In fact we bought an 8-foot diameter, 2 1/2 foot deep pool for our backyard at the Family Dollar store and it was like $24.99, or less than the price of 2 family visits to the pool. So far, no trips to the Aquatic center, but lots of backyard pool fun!

Kookamooka 9 years, 11 months ago

Nope. It's the higher fees. We used to go all of the time and now we can't afford it. For me to take my kids it costs 10.00 that would be 50.00 a week if we went everyday. We're all feeling the pinch. Thanks W.

Tammy Copp-Barta 9 years, 11 months ago

Same here. We haven't been at all this year because it costs so much .. it would be $14.00 for our family to go.

Tammy Copp-Barta 9 years, 11 months ago

That is good information Bowhunter99. Thanks for sharing it. I didn't know what the costs for passes were. It would still be $80.00 a month though for our family to purchase them. Kinda steep, although not compared to going once or twice a week for everyone.

wildcat86 9 years, 11 months ago

KansasPerson: the people at the admission windows actually DO remember the people from last year...i'm one of them...a lot of the people who have been working at the windows have been working there for a year all the way up to 4 years. i can tell you, it's not that hard to remember names and faces when you see them everyday.

ForThePeople 9 years, 11 months ago

We get monthly passes, which really didn't increase by much, and still go every opportunity we have. The cooler temperatures definitely have made a difference for me though.

Grundoon Luna 9 years, 11 months ago

It's the fee for us, too, so we've been only twice this year.

lelly 9 years, 11 months ago

It's the fee for us as well. Too bad. :-(

Chris Ogle 9 years, 11 months ago

It is sad that so many folks can't afford the pool. However, we can't afford any more tax burden either. Nothing is free... but it is a shame that kids can't enjoy the pool. No easy answer here.

Amy Bartle 9 years, 11 months ago

I took my kids once to the outdoor pool this year. I was grossed out by the emaciated, cig smoking, tattooed mom who was fighting with a guy just outside the restrooms. This was just about 10 feet away from the giant 300-400 pound guy laying out in a speedo. Some of the people who go there give me and my kids the creeps. That same day, one of my kids got really sick in the evening, probably from gross stuff in the water.

Ragingbear 9 years, 11 months ago

Well, the indoor pool would be more popular if they bothered to make the water warmer than 37 degrees. It's always been way too cold to swim in that place.

Buggie7 9 years, 11 months ago

Thats what we did. we ended up investing in a outdoor pool for ourselves. Its convienient and we can do what we want went we want and the cost goes back into OUR pool not the high prices elsewhere. We can reuse this pool every year and it was better for us.I cant believe someone actually commented on overweight people and tattoos. Come on if you dont want you kids to see that lock them in their room with no tv. This is everywhere and if it disgusts you so much maybe its a better thing you do stay home. There are so many professionals that I know as well as middle class and low income people that are overweight and have tattoos. Geez wake up and let your kids experience life.

notajayhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

"30-day pass - $20 per personPasses are valid for 30 days from date of purchase at any LPRD Aquatic facility. This pass option offers the swimmer a discounted daily swim admission calculated to 53 cents per day."$20 for 30 days may indeed be cheap, however, it is a little more than 53 cents per day.Besides which, not everyone who buys a pass goes every single day. If you go three times per week, it costs you about $1.55 per visit. Each.In Baldwin they use punch cards - it works out to $1.50 per visit, but they don't expire after 30 days, you get 20 visits for $30, whether you want to go every day for three weeks or twice per week through the summer.

Steve Jacob 9 years, 11 months ago

"tattooed mom's" are everywhere now, you just don't see it until you go swimming.

Nikki May 9 years, 11 months ago

There should be a comparative to the indoor pool, because if it's the weather, that would mean the indoor is packed. We go to the indoor once a week, and in the past, it HAS been packed. This year, we haven't seen one packed day.

TheEleventhStephanie 9 years, 11 months ago

What chaps my hide is when I go to swim laps and kids who can't swim the length of the pool without stopping are allowed to be in the lanes too. Usually I go to "lap swim" time in the mornings, but I can't always make it. Why do they even bother to have the lap lanes up all day if people can't actually swim laps? Why don't the guards keep the kids out of he lap lanes if they aren't swimming? Same goes for adults doing their water aerobics or whatever. If you see someone who is actually swimming, as in back and forth repeatedly, trying to excercize, don't share a lane with them if you are walking or doing something else that's really slow. And when you do share a lane, it's up and back counter clockwise. Two people can't really get a good swim side by side, ya know?Screw it. I'm just going to call the pool and complain. I just came from there, so my pi$$ed off-ness is fresh.

Ragingbear 9 years, 11 months ago

Yeah. God forbid that somebody overweight be allowed to go swimming and burn a few calories. Perhaps they should be locked up in Concentration Camps until they are no longer fat and ugly. But then, what will you do with all that extra skin?

Nikki May 9 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence has punch cards too, it's $30 for 36 punches. 4 punches for adults, 3 punches for kids.

Bone777 9 years, 11 months ago

In a few years, nobody will know the difference.

Robert bickers 9 years, 11 months ago

Ragingbear: that's a bit of an overreaction, no?

jonas 9 years, 11 months ago

"Fewer swimmers surface at outdoor aquatic center"Are they frickin' drowning in there?! What a horribly wrong headline! kyahaha.

Nop Enotgoingto 9 years, 11 months ago

gl0ck0wner....hmmm...I was not aware there were special tax rates for north, east, south and west Lawrence. I wonder what the middle Lawrence tax rates are?! I hope I am not funding those crazy west Lawrence schools. Gosh that would just really suck to have to spend my tax money helping to keep children educated so that they can grow up to be productive and law abiding citizens. Oh yes and lets just damn all the people and their children who are working hard and struggling to get by, surely their children do not deserve to swim at the pool. Sheesh... There is so little to do in this town for kids that is low cost, must we prevent them from the age old tradition of swimming in the summer. Perhaps if the City worried more about maintaining what it already has than adding to it we would not have to worry so much about funding.

blessed3x 9 years, 11 months ago

Makes me miss the good old days growing up in a small town. We had a sweet rope swing hanging from a HUGE cottonwood over a spring fed creek. The water was ICE cold and the surface used to get covered with those cottonwood fuzzies. It was SO much fun and didn't cost a thing!

Nop Enotgoingto 9 years, 11 months ago

For us it is the fee's. $60. a month for 3 kids or $9. dollars a day is insanity. It is not a very public pool if the public cannot afford to swim there. Where I used to live you could pay $75. for an entire family for the entire summer and you had 3 locations to choose from.

Jeff Cuttell 9 years, 11 months ago

Almost 100% increase in price for kids. That is amazing. And they are saying the price isn't an issue? Come On!

Steve Jacob 9 years, 11 months ago

People complaining about spending $14 for a full day of fun reminds me of why we don't have fun kids stuff in town, like an arcade, a Chuck E Cheese, go-carts, or even mini-golf. Have to go to KC or even Topeka to do that stuff.

pace 9 years, 11 months ago

I can't get past the nasty headline, what i want is a picture of kids and the image of some of them not emerging. Nasty, cheap headline.

KansasPerson 9 years, 11 months ago

This article just isn't logical. First of all, they're saying "we're seeing a lot of the same people" which doesn't sound like a very reliable way to keep track of who's coming back and who isn't. Are you really expecting us to believe that Miss Whoever at the pool admissions window actually remembers all the faces of the hundreds of people who used the pool last year?Secondly -- they're asking the people who are already at the pool whether the fees are affecting them or not. Duh -- the ones who are affected would be the ones who are staying home, no??Thirdly -- they're interviewing a sixth-grader about the effect of the fees? Are you serious??

Beth Bird 9 years, 11 months ago

We have not been once this summer due to the cost and in response to the discussion on movie admission - we don't go to those either. It cost too much! Thank God for Redbox!

KansasPerson 9 years, 11 months ago

Okay, wildcat86, I'll cheerfully retract the part about the pool workers not remembering people from year to year. I realize that most if not all people are better at remembering faces than I am.... I'm so bad at it, it's embarrassing.But I must stick to one thing -- while it's certainly possible to recognize people who come back to the pool this summer, is it equally possible to remember the ones who don't? Recognizing folks when you see them is one thing, but having their absence trigger something in your brain is something else, isnt it?

Joel Hood 9 years, 11 months ago

Just an observation, but there really aren't that many great bodies on display at the public pool - no tattoos on me, but I do have a slight case of the Chewbacca's. Actully, what I hate about the outdoor pool is how rude many of the kids are - seems to be the 11-17 year old male crowd. I watched my 7 year old daughter almost get trammpled at the lilly-pad last year and the poor life guard on duty seemed to have no authority to stop any of it. The indoor pool seems a bit less chaotic and I typically don't have to deal with the coarse language of the teenagers there. $14 for a family of 4 is a bit pricey - I don't think we will go as often this summer because of the price.

Buggie7 9 years, 11 months ago

My hats off to pywacket. My kids were taught the same thing with time out involved. However, its true what the earlier poster said about so many parents dropping off their kids ages 8 17 and letting the guards at the pool babysit all day which is not their jobs. Although I do not agree with the fee being raised I suppose it should be to make up for the daycare they are providing to some of the disprespectful youth that are there and not following any rules.

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