June 16, 2011 in City

County lowers pool fees

Northside, Southside centers open Friday
By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Park land sale

Also Tuesday, county commissioners approved a deal in which Liberty Lake Conservation Partners, managed by developer Jim Frank, will sell 110 acres of deeply discounted park land at MacKenzie Bay on Liberty Lake.

The new park land will be across Lakeside Road from a 12-unit housing project, in which two units are under construction.

Park officials say the $400,000 price is less than the estimated value of a water line Frank will throw into the bargain. The line will end chronic water shortages at the county’s nearby Liberty Lake Regional Park.

Spokane County’s Northside and Southside aquatic centers will start their seasons Friday with 33 percent lower prices.

Admission will drop from $6 to $4 for users 6 and older, from $3 to $2 for 3- through 5-year-olds, and from $60 to $40 for punch passes that offer a 20 percent discount. Children 2 and younger swim for free.

Patrons also may look forward to some manager specials county commissioners authorized Tuesday.

Parks Director Doug Chase was authorized to offer short-term discounts designed to increase attendance, such as free admission for fathers accompanied by children on Father’s Day.

Other examples might include admission discounts on cool days or concession-stand bargains during breaks to purify pool water.

Previously approved aquatics center price cuts reflect a decline in use last year that was attributed in part to competition from less-expensive city of Spokane facilities.

Public-swim attendance and revenue dropped 30 percent at the Northside aquatics center, 18120 N. Hatch Road, and 12 percent at the Southside center, 3724 E. 61st Ave., when Spokane opened similar facilities last year. The city pools charged only $1.

“Six bucks and a dollar, you can see why we took a hit last year – that and the temperature,” Assistant Parks Director John Bottelli said. “We think we’re going to come out better this year with the change in price.”

The jury is still out on the weather.

The Southside center recovered 62 percent of its costs last year, compared with 101 percent in the preceding year when Spokane pools were closed for renovation. The Northside center recovered only 50 percent of its costs.

Chase said the closure of Holmberg pool, which lost about $30,000 last year, is expected to help this year’s bottom line.

“Unfortunate as it is, it’s a case where we are trying to make lemonade out of lemons,” Chase said.

Holmberg pool, at 9615 N. Wall St., needs an estimated $93,500 to $113,500 worth of repairs to operate safely, but it had only 6,837 visits last summer – mostly for swimming lessons.

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