|The Woodlands Township's 2020 Parks and Recreation Department Aquatics Division Budget totals $2,246,104 in expenses and is projected to generate $1,298,000 in revenue through the sale of pool passes (annual/daily), punch cards, pool rentals, lap lane rentals and concessions. As swimming pool fees were amended late in the pool season in 2019, there is no recommendation to amend pool fees for the 2020 season.
|On July 30, 2019, The Woodlands Township Board of Directors received a presentation and public comment regarding the operations of the Rob Fleming Aquatic Center. Subsequently, the Board of Directors authorized the preparation of amendments to Township Order No. 020-09 relating to Section 3 (pool fees) and convened a Public Hearing on August 5 to receive public comment and to consider action on the proposed amendments (Attachment A).
Upon the adoption of new pool fees for non-residents on August 5, the Board directed staff to develop a plan to review swimming pool operations and related fee structures (annual passes, daily fees, discounted passes, etc.). Subsequently, a draft 2020-2021 Parks and Recreation Department Aquatics Division Business and Operational Plan has been prepared (Attachment B). The plan reviews information such as demographics, amenity infrastructure, use levels, programs/services provided and competition in the market place (other aquatic facilities, swim teams and swim lessons).
Critical findings from this research include but are not limited to:
- Nearly all residents are within one (1) mile of a Township-operated aquatic facility - swimming pool or sprayground.
- Residents have concerns about the crowding of the aquatic facilities despite swimming pools having available capacity and not exceeding the established capacity of any given facility.
- There has been a decline of 5% in the number of households with children in the community but the total number of children grew by approximately 1,191.
- 42% of the population's Household Income is below $100,000 thus select programs that provide access to the pools and programs should remain a part of the overall aquatics delivery system.
- Between 2014 and 2019, the Open Swim Use decreased 1.74% and the Total Pool Use increased a total of 5.29%.
- In 2019, 27% of the overall Aquatics Division Revenue was derived from Rob Fleming Day Passes. In 2016-2018, the percentages were 21.76%, 23.10% and 25.10% respectively.
- Assuming a 3% inflation factor, the cost of the base pool pass would increase from $40 in 2008 to $58.74 in 2020 while the discounted pool pass (5th family member, swim team, senior, etc.) would have risen from $15 to $22.03. Additionally, the day pass would have risen from $6 in 2008 to $8.81 in 2020 and the day Rob Fleming Resident pass from $10 in 2008 to $14.69 in 2020. However, the Township did not increase fees during this period.
- As a local benchmark, the City of Oak Ridge North charges residents $50 for an annual pool pass per person, for one pool.
- A five-year analysis of data reveals that the highest use of the pools is on Thursday mornings at 11:30 am (68.46) while the lowest use is Monday mornings at 10:30 am.
- There are three pools that average under 10 people per hour during most of the mornings and several evening time periods (Windvale, Harper's Landing, and Shadowbend).
- Over the course of the past six (6) years (2014-2019) Pool Pass purchases have decreased 25.05%; however, day passes have increased between 17.08% and 20.78%.
- While fees and charges were revised late in the swimming pool season in August 2019, there is not enough data to understand the impact of those changes on future sales, i.e. 2020 passes (daily/annual).
- It is very difficult to compare communities in terms of aquatic delivery service models due to the wide range of philosophies on service, facilities, and funding models.
- Time needs to be allocated to identify groups in the community that could use existing lap lane and pool rental space to increase use and revenue.
- Aquatics programming needs to be diversified to include “recreational” programs as opposed to just swim lessons and swim teams.
From the conclusions provided in the Plan, a number of key strategies are recommended for consideration to ensure the Township's Aquatic Division programs, services and facilities remain relevant to the community. Over the next two years (2020 and 2021) programs, services and operational goals include the following:
Attachment C, included in the Plan, provides the recommended 2020 Pool Schedule.
- Review pool fees at the conclusion of the 2020 season to understand the impact of the fee changes in August 2019 and present for consideration for the 2021 swimming pool season.
- Develop alternative programming types and delivery systems including pop up programs, and non-swim team/lesson programs.
- Review program and current affiliation with NWAL to determine if this association is currently meeting the needs of is residents.
- Develop Open Swim Time as a program to encourage and incentivize use/pool pass purchase.
- Leverage social media to encourage use of the aquatic facilities.
- Develop plans to enhance operational efficiency (weather closures, amenity closures due to low attendance).
- Expand lifeguard training to include additional content on oxygen training, epinephrine administration and customer service.
- Employ an Aquatics Supervisor, in part, to develop a water safety/drowning prevention program and coordinate 3rd party users (lap lane, pool parties).
- Transfer all administrative and operations forms to an electronic method (Google Forms, Cognito, etc.) to reduce cost and improve operational efficiency.
- Establish Key Performance Indicators for areas such as Cost Recovery, Pool Use, Programming and Lifeguards.