FAIRMONT - The price of a swimming pass has not changed since Fairmont's aquatic park opened in 1999, so the City Council voted Monday to increase the cost of admissions and swimming lessons.
Rate changes for 2013 are as follows:
o Per person, age 2 and older will increase from $4 to $5.
o Annual family pass, from $130 to $150.
o Annual adult pass, from $90 to $100.
o Annual student pass, from $70 to $80.
o Punch pass for 12 admissions, from $40 to $50.
o Swimming lessons, from $30 to $35.
Councilman Wes Clerc also suggested adding an annual grandparent pass, an idea that was backed by his colleagues and city staff.
Last year, quite a few policy changes were implemented at the park, in order to increase attendance and user satisfaction. Numbers were up, from 20,797 in 2011, to 24,508 in 2012. Those figures exclude fitness swimmers, private parties and special events.
The park stayed open Tuesday through Thursday until 9 p.m., which brought a lot of positive comments, but not a lot of people, reported city administrator Mike Humpal. The daily average for 2012 was 97 visitors, but only 30 people on average took advantage of the extended hours. Still, Humpal recommended the facility continue to stay open late on those evenings.
Staff also implemented a policy on temperature-related closure, which Humpal said seemed to work well. The park closes if the temperature is 69 degrees or less, which occurred only four days in 2012.
Special promotions also were successful last year, such as Family Fridays in August, when admission for a family is $10. Grandparents Day was every Sunday, with half-price admission. Free admission for dads and grandfathers was available on Father's Day, and on Tuesdays in August, daycare providers' clients could swim for $2, for up to four hours. Those specials will continue in 2013.
In addition to the benefit the aquatic park provides to its users, the facility helps draw people to Fairmont.
Humpal also pointed out the park provides about 60 jobs, most of which go to Fairmont area youth. When those young people graduate high school and leave Fairmont to attend college, many of them continue coming back to their hometown for their summer jobs.
For more information on the aquatic park, visit www.fairmont.org/aquaticpark