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Swimming pool use is drying up

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Attendance was down last season at the Storm Lake swimming pool, and city officials suspect that Storm Lake's aging pool is losing patrons to newer water parks in the surrounding area.

The Storm Lake swimming pool attendance for the 2003 season was 5,450 paid daily admissions down from 5,986 in the previous season.

The pool also saw a drop in family passes, adult passes and children's passes during the same period, translating to a total of $3,733 in lost daily revenues for 2003.

The pool sold 116 family passes in May '02 for a total of $5,165 and only 44 for $3,201 in the same month this year, but rebounded in June.

The pool sold 116 family passes for $8,207.30 in '02 and 100 for $7,163.75 in '03.

The largest single drop was in adult daily admissions. The pool saw 1,423 adults come through the gates in '02, bringing a total of $4,039, but in '03 only 1,145 adults paid for a daily pass, a $791 loss.

A committee to construct a modern aquatic center was put on hold when a mayor's committee was formed to build a community center with a possible indoor/outdoor pool. That committee has disbanded, in favor of a Destination Park development that might include an aqua center, with plans to be unveiled late this year.

According to city staffer Justin Yarosevich, some pool employees and people in the community feel families are simply going to other communities in the area with water parks that offer more to do.

"I don't want to base anything on gossip or speculation," he said. "But we've heard that a lot of families go to Spencer and Denison or Carroll to swim on weekends.

"We offer a T-shaped pool where you pretty much have to make your own fun. Not like the bigger water parks with slides and other entertainments."

Swimming lessons fell by 75 percent for May 2003, and 50 percent for June compared to 2002, probably due to competition from early-season children's sports programs.

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