Although still in need of Newton City Council’s final approval, the parks and recreation department submitted several proposed fee alterations to the park board during its monthly meeting Wednesday night in the city council chambers.
Community Services Manager Brian Laube approached the advisory board with the fee structure changes to Maytag Pool and park shelters, omitting any revisions to athletic field rentals until separate, standalone agreements for field uses and fees are met with area sports leagues.
After maintaining a daily admission fee of $4.50 at Maytag Pool for many years, Laube suggested it increase to $5 per day. Based upon swimmer attendance from the past few years, the community services manager estimated the change would bring in more than $4,000 in additional revenue.
Laube also proposed “a daily fee after 5 p.m.” option for guests based upon citizen input he received, which would allow swimmers the opportunity to use pool facilities for half price. The pool is open until 9 p.m. Monday. Laube said other nights pool staff will typically allow guests to swim until 6:45 p.m.
“We got some citizens that reached out and said, ‘Hey, I work out of town and I don’t get back until 4:30 or 5 o’clock, and you guys close the pool. I don’t want to pay $5 or $4.50 to get in,’” Laube said. “That half-price admission after 5 p.m. would allow people to come in for an hour and 45 minutes. I know we had people trying to do physical therapy wanting to get in the water, things like that.”
Prices for the lap swim and toddler swim were also proposed to be bumped up from $2 to $2.50 a piece.
One of the biggest alterations to fee structures at the roughly 600-person capacity pool is the inclusion of group or family passes, which Laube said has not been well defined and “getting out of control.” Passes allowed season admission to groups of one to seven people. The Newton Daily News reported in May groups “do not need to be family, the passes just need to be purchased at the same time.”
“What has happened is people will get their neighbors and they’ll bring in 10, 12, 14 people in at a time to buy these to save, what, $10 on a pass, $5 on a pass,” Laube said. “It hasn’t worked very well here lately for the past two years.”
Opting to simplify the pass fees, Laube said each pool pass would cost $50 per person and would remove the cost savings from group passes altogether. A one-person pass cost $55 during the 2018 pool season. Laube said the change would clean up a lot of the “hassle” and could generate upwards of $5,000 in additional revenue.
Morning and evening pool parties, which typically last two hours, are still planned for the 2019 pool season, although Laube proposed to drop the base fee down to $250 from $280. Use of the pool slides during that time, he added, would tack on an additional $25, noting that more lifeguards would be needed. Use of the diving boards during pool parties would also cost an additional $25.
Newton Park Board member Amanda Price entertained the option of setting prices higher for pool parties. Laube said the fees were set up in a way to cover expenses and pay for the chemicals and upkeep needed for the pool, comparing the process to a park shelter rental.
Based upon the usage and demand of the Aurora Park shelter in 2018, Laube recommended the fees increase from $5 to $30, which would also correspond with the southernmost shelter rental fee price tag in Maytag Park.
Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or firstname.lastname@example.org