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Daily pass rates lowered to swim at Lions Pool

Daily pass rates lowered to swim at Lions Pool
Parks and Rec board members (left to right) Sarah Barrett and Chris Eldridge participate in a monthly meeting on Thursday in Charles City. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra
By Kelly Terpstra,

Well over 10,000 people paid to swim at the Lions Pool in Charles City last summer.

While that 2019 attendance is a far cry from the high-water mark of 33,000 swimmers who passed through the gates of the pool in 1995, it’s still an improvement from the summer before.

Those seasonal numbers were discussed at the monthly Parks and Recreation Board meeting on Thursday evening.

“Our numbers were up, which is always great – even when the slide was down, too,” said Tyler Mitchell, Parks and Rec director.

The total attendance from June 1 until August 18 when the pool was open for 71 days was 10,681. That figure is an increase from the 9,697 people who swam at Lions in 2018.

The pool was completed in 1991 and the attendance averaged more than 25,700 swimmers annually for the first 10 years the recreation spot was open.

Mitchell said the average daily attendance was 150 last summer, an increase of 17 swimmers from 2018. A report said there were 161 season tickets sold in 2019, and of those 98 were family passes.

The pool, run by the Parks and Rec Department, ran at an operating deficit of more than $33,000 in 2019 and has never made the city money in the 29 seasons it has been open.

Total expenses for the pool came out to $74,000 and the income the pool was able to generate amounted to approximately $41,000.

“What’s going on right now is, our pool has hit a time now where we’re having to put a lot of money into it to keep it up and running. That’s why our expenses are a lot higher than what it used to be five, six years ago,” said Mitchell.

In order to keep the paid attendance up at the pool, the board voted unanimously to lower the rates for a daily pass to swim.

The price of a daily admission ticket was lowered by 50 cents to $4 for an adult. A junior pass (18 & under) now costs $3 and a child (5 years and younger) will be charged $1. The junior and child passes were each lowered by $1.

Season ticket prices were raised by 20 cents to $150 and 80 cents to $65 for an individual season pass. Those even-amount totals are after tax is included.

“We’re hoping with the change of price we get more people sticking around rather than going to Nora Springs and Greene and all that,” said Mitchell. “This is kind of a trial run to see how it works out.”

The board also approved how to use a $600 donation that was created in memory of Bill Wohlers. The money will go toward the purchase of pool recreational equipment.

A family season pool pass ($150) was approved by the board to be donated to Dollars for Scholars. That family pass will be up for bid at the silent auction held at the Dining for Dollars fundraising dinner later this month at the Charles City Elks Lodge.

Price increases for single, couple and family season rates to golf at Wildwood were also unanimously approved and raised by $15 each. The single rate to golf for the season is $365, a couple season pass now costs $430 and a family can buy a yearly pass to play the course for $465.

“What we did is we looked at the golf courses around Charles City to kind of see where we’re at compared to them and have an idea where we’re going to go,” Mitchell said.

The number of season tickets sold at Wildwood jumped to 211 last year from 181 in 2018.

“Our course is looking really good the last couple of years. Joel (Bruner) has done a really nice job, so I think that’s helped a lot,” said Mitchell.

Daily rates to golf nine holes ($12) and 18 holes ($20) stayed the same.

“If you compare Wildwood to other courses in the area, it’s a bargain,” said board member Dennis Petersen.

Mitchell said he is also in the planning stages of organizing a Lions Field Day, where the Parks and Rec Department would host and promote different activities to participate in around the city like sand volleyball or a bean bag tournament.

He said it would be a great opportunity for community members or anyone interested to stay active and see what Charles City has to offer.