Two weeks after its controversial decision to start charging kids to swim, the Spokane Park Board approved discount passes that will make charges cheaper for frequent pool users.
Kids ages 4 through 17 will be charged $15 for a pass for 2009. Adults will be charged $30. Whole families can swim all summer for $75.
But those prices are expected to double next year. Park Director Barry Russell said the 2009 rates are based on five weeks of swimming because of the delayed opening of the pools. City pools normally are open 10 weeks.
The daily fee imposed by the board earlier this month is $1 for children and $2 for adults. No fees will be charged for kids 3 or younger.
City Councilman Bob Apple, who serves on the Park Board, said park officials have heard from several businesses and residents interested in giving money to lower fees on kids.
Since first opening pools in 1914, the city has only charged children to swim in its outdoor pools in 1982.
“There’s enough money right now being donated by people that we might have free swimming anyways,” Apple said.
The city is rebuilding its six outdoor pools with money raised from a property tax approved by voters in 2007.
The first two pools, Shadle and A.M. Cannon, are expected to open in early July. The other openings are expected to come as late as mid-September.
The fee plan approved Tuesday by the Park Board maintains the 2008 rates on groups, such as community centers, that sponsor summer activities using the pools. Groups that use the pool twice a week will continue paying $250 a year. City pools have charged organized groups to swim even though it traditionally has not charged children.
Russell said because of the late openings, the department plans to keep the pools open through much of September for after-school hours and weekends, if weather permits.