LOWELL - Business has been good at the Village of Lowell's swimming pool this year, although village officials weren't sure as late as April whether the facility would open for the 2012 season.
An approaching rainstorm dampened pool attendance somewhat early Tuesday afternoon, but manager Vicki Okey said that hasn't been the norm.
"We were really busy every day until scattered storms began rolling in a little over a week ago," she said. "But we're doing much better than last year. We've been averaging around 70 swimmers a day, and last summer there were many days with only five or six people."
Photo by Sam Shawver
Brooke Haas, 12, of Lower Salem, cooled off in the Lowell pool with sister Keara Haas, 7, and friend Allie Maynard of Marietta.
Earlier this year village officials were concerned the pool might not open this summer as expenses on the facility in 2011 outpaced revenues by around $4,000.
In past years the village general fund was used to make up the difference, but budget constraints eliminated that option this year? So officials left it up to the community, requesting donations from businesses, organizations and residents to cover the gap.
The community stepped up to the plate and more than $4,000 was donated to keep the pool in operation through the summer.
About the Pool
The Lowell pool is open from 1 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 1 to 6 p.m. on weekends.
Donations are still being accepted for the pool operations. Any business, organization or individual interested in contributing can contact the village municipal office at 896-2419.
"There's been huge community support for the pool," said village councilman Rick Coley. "We're going to be OK this season. Like other area pools, the hot, dry weather has really helped out this year, and we changed our hours of operations."
Okey agreed, noting the pool is now open until 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"People seem to like the later hour. We sold a lot more season passes this year, and I'm seeing more adults coming to the pool," she said.
In addition to higher attendance and more season pass sales, Okey said rentals of the facility for pool parties are up this season.
"We've already had several parties, and there are two coming up this weekend with around 150 people," she said. "The pool is booked for the next couple of weekends, and more party reservations are still coming in."
Okey said village council members have noted that a quarter of the way through this season the pool was already ahead of last year's revenues.
Coley said the increase in business indicates a brighter future for the Lowell pool, but he added that there will still be financial challenges ahead.
"We're not clear on how the village budget will be impacted as leaders in Columbus are slashing budgets for state programs, and there's ongoing confusion and a lack of clarity on what local government funds will be available to communities," he said.
But for the time being the Lowell pool will continue to operate, which is good news for folks like Judy Haas of Lowell who brought her grandchildren to the pool Tuesday.