Numbers at Mitchell pool increase with heatThe sun beats down and the humid air covers everything like a blanket. There’s only one thing to do — jump in the pool.
By: Frannie Sprouls, The Daily Republic
The sun beats down and the humid air covers everything like a blanket. There’s only one thing to do — jump in the pool.
Mitchell residents have been doing just that.
“With the heat, it seems like we have a lot more in,” said Jamie Henkel, recreation coordinator for the city’s Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.
The number of people going to the Mitchell Outdoor Aquatic Center through June rose from 2011 to 2012. Henkel said about 15,000 people went to the center in 2011 from opening day to June 30. This year, the number was about 17,000.
“This year has been really good,” said Cory Greenway, a lifeguard at the center. “We’ve had more patrons and a lot more passes.”
Greenway credited more than just the hot weather.
“A lot more people realize we have a nice facility here,” he said. “It’s a way to cool off.”
Though attendance is up so far compared to last year, recent season-long numbers are down compared to the pool’s opening years. In 2007, for example, total attendance was 48,052. Last year, total attendance was 39,224.
The aquatic center, which opened in May 2006, cost city government $4.1 million to build. There is still a debt of $2,261,315 to be paid by 2019.
According to the Mitchell Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department 2011 annual report, the center’s total expenses last year were $204,891.02 and total revenues were $163,504.20, equating to a shortfall of $41,386.82.
Officials involved with the pool say attendance depends largely on the weather, which sometimes causes the pool to close. Last year, the center was closed for three days and had seven partial opens in the month of June. This year, the center was closed one day and had four partial opens in June.
“We’ve been open a lot more this year,” Henkel said.
The daily average attendance for the center has been about 500 this summer.
As more children complete swimming lessons, more will come, Greenway said.
“I think it can only get better,” he said. “I think the rest of the summer will be pretty good.”