Monday, September 17, 2018

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Eau Claire: Fairfax Park Pool revenues floated on season passes in 2017

2017’s receipts might have surpassed record set in 2016, but attendance sank during chilly August

  • dr-Pool-2-061217-7

    Siblings, from left, Kaden, 11, Grant, 5, and Kennedy Radcliffe, 9, of Altoona cool off at Fairfax Park Pool on June 12 in Eau Claire. Attendance at the pool last year kept pace with 2016 for both June and July but dipped in August when cooler temperatures hit. Despite that, revenues were the second highest on record, which city staff said was helped by more people getting season passes.

    Staff file photo by Dan Reiland

  • mw-grandparents-8a-062817-2

    Bill Hamilton of Eau Claire plays with his grand-children visiting from out of town on June 27 at Fairfax Park Pool.

    Staff file photo

  • Dale-Peters-1

Despite a dip in attendance at Fairfax Park Pool last year linked to a cold August, revenues were the second highest on record as the number of people getting season passes increased.

Pool revenues totaled $298,094 in 2017, according to a Fairfax Park Pool final report. While that’s a 6 percent decrease from 2016, revenues only just fell short of the 2016 high in the pool’s nearly 30 years of operation, Chad Duerkop, program and facilities supervisor for the Eau Claire Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, recently told the City Council.

Revenues were helpedby more season passes being sold. In 2017, $93,044 wasspent on season passes, compared with $87,485 the previous year. About 2,800 families bought a family pass, which is about 100 passes more than 2016.

“We try to do a good job of promoting season pass sales and making those affordable to people and encourage them to purchase those passes early,” Duerkop said.

The pool’s total revenue was surpassed by its expenses of $368,669, which has been a trend the past few years. Expenses have exceeded revenue for at least the previous five years, from as little as $47,900 to about $70,600 last year.

“Although we try to have operating revenues cover expenses, in most years there is an operational loss,” City Manager Dale Peters said. 

City budget analyst Josh Solinger said in cases such as that, the expenditures are subsidized through the general fund.

Revenues could have been higher if attendance kept pace with 2016 numbers, but a cold August nipped that opportunity. Total attendance at the pool on the city’s south side was 59,611 last year, a 15 percent decrease from 2016, according to the report.

“That was mainly because of the weather,” Duerkop told the council last week. “August was a cold, not very fun month to swim (last) year.”

The pool report shows 2017 had eight days during the 14-week season that had high temperatures below 70 degrees and four days with highs above 90. 

Comparatively, 2016 had two days below 70 degrees and eight days above 90. August averaged a high of 75 degrees in 2017 and was on average 7 degrees warmer during the same month in 2016. 

“I have great sympathy for a person who has to manage an operation that is weather-sensitive, and you certainly do,” said Councilwoman Kathy Mitchell after the pool report was presented last week. 

Admission rates aren’t expected to change this year, with the daily rate costing $4.25 and a four-person family pass for residents costing $128. Rates were last increased in 2016.

Contact: 715-833-9206, elizabeth.dohms@ecpc.com, @EDohms_LT on Twitter


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