Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor
Thursday, 26 September 2013 11:01
Fees for all of Bowling Green's Department of Parks and Recreation activities, including the Community Center and pool, will remain unchanged in 2014.
|File photo. A lifeguard (left) keeps watch while people use the lazy river during the grand opening of the Bowling Green City Pool. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
The Parks and Recreation Board approved the fee schedule Tuesday night and also agreed to exempt Bowling Green schools and co-op preschools from fees for environmental education programs. Those fees remain in place for Scout groups and schools outside of the city.
"People are still struggling to be able to make ends meet. I think we can go another year," Director of Parks and Recreation Dr. Michelle Grigore said.
Grigore suggested the exemption for the school fee after a review of data indicated use of the program had fallen by approximately 50 percent since fees were implemented, about the same time schools began experiencing tighter budgets.
She said the program would be targeted at pre-school, first and third grade classrooms, with the staff developing traveling programs designed to assist teachers.
The director also reported the pool turned a $2,335 operating profit in its first season. "Even with five weeks of cool, rainy weather the new aquatic facility topped the old attendance and income records for the past 14 years. We look forward to implementing the lessons learned in the first year of operation and for a normal summer weather pattern next year," she said.
Revenue from season passes, daily admission, concessions, rentals and swim lessons was $207,044, compared to $107,284 in 2012.
Expenses for personnel, employee benefits, chemicals, concession supplies, operations and utilities totaled $204,709, compared to $126,239 a year ago. The loss in 2012 was $18,955.
Total pool use this season was 34,047, compared to 19,561, a 74 percent increase.
Grigore said one of the biggest surprises was the decline in chemical costs ($11,725 in 2012 to $7,848) despite the fact the new complex required treatment of much more water. Utility costs were slightly below a year ago. The personnel costs were higher because of needing more staff to cover the area and an increase in the minimum wage.
After the season the slide contractors returned to refinish the slide to the city's satisfaction, she said. Astro Pool has completed some items and the city is awaiting Harp Construction to complete some items before releasing final payment.
During a discussion of the proposed 2014 budget, Grigore said plans call for developing five of the 20 acres the city is buying for soccer fields near the Community Center.
"It looks like it will cost about $120,000 to develop each five acres. Developing the entire area will take at least four years unless a big donor comes forward," she said. Plans call for installing an irrigation system and proper drainage. Grigore said she wants to avoid a repeat of the drainage pattern used on soccer field nears the BG Municipal Court Building which creates wet spectator areas. Those fields will remain in use.
Restroom facilities in the Community Center would serve the soccer fields.
City council agreed to purchase the 20 acres from Robert Maurer earlier this month. Closing is set for this fall.
The board also learned:
• A one-acre section of Carter Park that includes a woodlot will no longer be mowed and will be allowed to revert to a natural area. Grigore said wildflowers bloom in the area in the spring and then the area is usually mowed. She said a Boy Scout is interested in putting a nature trail in the area as an Eagle Scout project.
• Briefly discussed the condition of the Veterans Building in City Park, where the board met Tuesday. Grigore said she is awaiting Poggemeyer Design Group's estimate on a replacement structure. A renovation estimate of $500,000 was submitted earlier. She said a public discussion will be scheduled when all of the information is gathered.
• Received an 11-page Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Five Year Program Plan: 2013-2018. The report was written by Recreation Coordinator Krisitin Otley.