PIEDMONT -- It may cost a little more to swim for some groups after recommendations by the Recreation Commission.
The new fee schedule, if approved by the City Council, will go into effect May 1 through April 30, 2014. The proposed fees will help the community pool operate at less of a deficit and ensure its viability, Recreation Director Mark Delventhal said at the Jan. 30 meeting.
An annual family pass would go up $40, from $850 to $890 for residents, and from $950 to $990 for nonresidents. No change is proposed for adult or senior annual passes.
Seasonal family passes would rise $25, from $495 to $520 for residents, and from $570 to $595 for nonresidents. Seasonal senior passes take more of a jump at a proposed $125 hike from $225 to $350 for residents and from $325 to $425 for nonresidents.
"Senior fees were (raised) to be in line with the rest of the passes," pool manager David Weisgerber said.
Some commission members were concerned the rise might cause a hardship for some seniors. Weisgerber said it is a small group that would be affected. Youth walk-up fees will go down to $7 per day, previously $7.50 per day. The Recreation Department has tracked all user groups over the past year to determine who might be underserved and is proposing some changes.
They are adjusting the swim school schedule to provide an hour in the medium pool from 4 to 5 p.m. exclusively for recreational swimmers. From 5 to 6 p.m., the medium pool will be used just for swim lessons with a one-hour "splash zone" in the main pool Monday through Thursday. The main pool will open on weekends at 6:30 a.m. beginning May 1; the medium pool will open daily at 11:30 a.m. for recreational swim beginning May 1. The splash pool (formerly the baby pool) will open daily at 10 a.m. beginning April 8. The complex will open 5:30 a.m. throughout the year, except at 6:30 a.m. on Saturdays.
Several lap swimmers attended the meeting to speak about a "vague" rule that prohibits those age 16 and younger from lap swimming. Delventhal said the city is checking with its attorney and will provide more information at an upcoming meeting. Another speaker favored raising the nonresident fees even higher to keep the pool for Piedmonters only.
"The (pool) should not be seen as exclusionary," commissioner Terry London said. "It's like using a sledgehammer to raise (more) fees on nonresidents. This is not just a Piedmont pool."
Piedmont marketed swim passes to surrounding communities such as Piedmont Pines and Montclair to enhance its revenue, Delventhal said.
"There are 180 nonresident passes out of 600," he said.
A resident also complained that his children had to wait in long lines last season to get in to swim. Aquatics manager Nick Cuevas said that occurred 10 to 15 times on the hottest days, when the pool was overcrowded and gates closed for periods of time.
Delventhal said safety is the top priority but that management will do all it can to avoid lines in the future. He added that the pool estimates a $100,000 subsidy from the city for the upcoming season.