Letter: Manager takes issue with portrayal of SWIM Center
Tuesday, December 04, 2012 3:42 AM
Due to the numerous individuals approaching me about the SWIM Center and its losses, I felt it necessary to write this letter.
With the above-average temperatures, we did very well; unfortunately that was not the message you received! Therefore, I would like to clarify a few of the details.
The headline reads, "SWIM Center losses reviewed." It should have read, "SWIM Center breaks attendance record."
Herald: The pool did very well in July, but cooler than normal weather in August hurt attendance at season's end. (What happened during the month of June?)
Truth: We had a record attendance in both June and July. August typically slows down because of the fair; people are taking last minute vacations and preparing for school.
Herald: The cool temperatures also cost the city quite a bit to run water heaters in August. (Leads you to believe it was the entire month.)
Truth: We had about four days at the most during August that had cooler temperatures.
Herald: The addition of non-slip carpet and other repairs added to the red ink, Rostad-Anderson stated.
Truth: I never made a comment about the repairs or "non-slip" carpet adding to the red ink. The purchase of the indoor/outdoor carpeting was possible because of the money we received from the sale of the logs, a feature that the pool used to have. By eliminating the logs, we eliminated a lifeguard having to be at that location, which reduced staff and reduced our insurance - a cost-effective move.
Herald: The cost of chemicals was also sharply higher; nearly double last year's figures.
Truth: The 2011 actual cost for chemicals was $6,253 while the 2012 actual cost was $7,085. Do the math ... is that nearly double? Is it not abnormal for the chemical usage to increase due to warmer temperatures.
Herald: Mayor Saundy Solum added that the pool also needs to have some guaranteed open hours, since out-of-town visitors are put off when they arrive and find the pool closed early for lack of attendance.
Truth: I requested that the council consider a consistent closing policy. I conducted a survey of pools in the area to see what their closing policies were. For the most part, they all use the common sense. Chatfield is the only pool that automatically closes at 66 degrees. Caledonia stays open regardless of weather or attendance.
The Herald neglected to report that the SWIM Center has increased its revenue for the past five years; we have been under budget in a majority of the categories.
We were at a high for number of sales in season passes, admissions, concessions and swimming lessons. Along with that, we have terrific incentives and drawings throughout the season that are well received.
These items were discussed at the meeting, but were not mentioned in the article.
Regardless of the negativity and adverse thought some people may have about the SWIM Center, it's an asset to our community, providing a positive environment with wonderful lifeguards and staff.
The laughs, smiles and giggles I have witnessed over the past five years at the SWIM Center are priceless!
Christmas blessings and warm wishes.
2012 SWIM Center manager