Slide can't keep pool out of the red

August 27, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

It appears that this year's addition of a costly water slide to the city's pool may be a wash.

The slide's installation was complete in May, just before Claude M. Potterfield Pool opened for the summer season. The twisting, 118-foot-long slide cost $118,475, according to city records.

Although the year-end financial statements haven't been tallied, City Parks and Recreation Department Manager John Budesky said the new slide helped contribute to a 20 percent increase in attendance through June.

Budesky said he had no reason to expect the attendance levels to fall off through Labor Day weekend, when the pool shuts down for the summer.


That added attendance has boosted pool revenues, Budesky said, but he still expects the city to have to shift over extra money to the pool, which historically has not been able to pay its expenses with the revenue it brings in.

According to a report from earlier this year, the pool spent between $39,000 and $99,000 more than it earned in revenues between 1999 and 2003.

Budesky said revenue from the higher attendance will take care of this year's payments toward the debt the city took on to pay for the slide project.

Budesky said there will be some money left over after the debt payments, enough to chip away at the annual subsidy from city taxpayers.

But because of rising employee costs, the additional money will not be enough to completely close the gap. He said he expected the city subsidy to be in the range of $50,000.

Regardless, Budesky said the better attendance has improved the pool's financial outlook.

"We're certainly in a much better financial position than we have been with the pool," he said.

Budesky said the pool's year-end financial report would be issued in October.

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