|The 2020 Aquatics Division Budget totals $2,246,104 in expenses and is expected to generate at least $1,298,000 in revenue though the sales 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 January 22, 2020, the Township Board of Directors received a presentation on the 2020-2021 Parks and Recreation Department Aquatics Division Business and Operational Plan (Attachment A - Executive Summary; Attachment B - Business and Operational Plan).
On January 22, 2020, the Board of Directors reviewed the plan and tabled most action on the plan until the February 20, 2020, meeting. Due to printing deadlines the Board approved the recommended pool schedule which included changing the pool schedule at Shadowbend to an alternate schedule (12 pm opening and 6 pm closing as opposed to a 10 am opening and 8 pm closing).
Critical findings from the research in the plan include but are not limited to:
- Nearly all residents are within one (1) mile of a Township owned and operated aquatic facility (pool/sprayground).
- Residents have concerns about the crowding of the aquatic facilities despite them not meeting the stated capacity of the facility.
- There has been a decline of 5% of the households with children but the total number of children grew by approximately 1,191.
- 42% of the populations' 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. From 2016-2018, those percentages were 21.76, 23.10 and 25.10 respectively.
- Assuming a 3% inflation factor, the cost of the base pool pass has risen from $40 to $58.74 while the discounted pool pass (5th family member, swim team, senior, etc.) has risen from $15 to $22.03. Additionally, the day pass has risen from $6 in 2008 to $8.81 in 2020 and the day Rob Fleming Resident pass has risen from $10 in 2008 to $14.69 in 2020. As a simple benchmark the City of Oak Ridge North charges $50 per person for their annual pool pass, for one pool.
- A five-year analysis of data reveals that the highest use of the pools is on a Thursday morning at 11:30 am (68.46) while the lowest use is Monday morning at 10:30 am.
- There are three pools that average under 10 people per hour during most of the morning and several evening time periods (Windvale, Harpers Landing, and Shadowbend).
- Over the course of the past six (6) years (2014-2019) Pool Pass purchases have decreased 25.05%; however, day pass purchases have increased between 17.08% and 20.78%.
- While fees and charges were revised in August 2019, there is not enough data to understand the impact on future sales, i.e. 2020 passes (daily/annual).
- It is very difficult to compare communities in terms of aquatic delivery service model due to the various philosophies of 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.
- Programming needs to be diversified to include “recreational” programs as opposed to just swim lessons and swim teams.
From the conclusions, a number of key strategies are being recommended to ensure the Aquatic Division’s programs, services and facilities remain relevant to the community. Over the course of the next two years (2020 and 2021) programs, services and operational goals include the following:
- 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 residents.
- Develop Open Swim Time as a program to encourage and incentivize use/pool pass purchase.
- Review pool fees at the conclusion of the 2020 season to understand the impact of the fee changes in August 2019.
- 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 to include oxygen training, epinephrine administration and customer service.
- Hire the Aquatics Supervisor, which was included in the 2020 Budget, in part, to develop a water safety/drowning prevention program and coordinate 3rd party users (lap lane, pool parties).
- Move all 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.
On February 3, 2020, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Council, whose charter is to provide input and serve as a public sounding board for programs, activities, policies and new initiatives of the Parks and Recreation Department of The Woodlands Township, met to review the plan. No significant comments were received from the Council on the conclusions or recommendations of the plan. They were appreciative of the full-scale review of the Aquatics Division and the methods called out to incentivize pool use, program development ideas and leveraging social media to promote the community’s Aquatic facilities, programs and services.