04/12/09 — Council to discuss changing city pools

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Council to discuss changing city pools

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on April 12, 2009 2:00 AM

The Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission is exploring options for the city's swimming pool operations this summer, including potentially raising rates and cutting service hours at the Goldsboro Family Y's request.

Closing the Mina Weil and Peacock pools for the summer was one of the possibilities the commission discussed at its last meeting. The members also discussed the possibility of closing just one pool and operating the other, or even returning pool management responsibilities to the city. But Parks and Recreation interim director Gail Charles said that they are still moving forward with the summer operations contract as planned.

"We go through this every year, trying to figure out what the best ways to do things are," Mrs. Charles said. "I can't tell you how that will go, it's in the process."

However, given the challenging economic situation, "we are looking at things we never have before," she said.

The Family Y has been responsible for the daily pool operations since the organization reached an agreement with the city seven years ago.

Darren Goroski, senior program director with the Y, said the 2009 summer contract is still under discussion, but to the best of his knowledge, the pools will be open.

"From what we understand, we've already got the go-ahead," Goroski said.

The hours of operation and cost to use the pools are still under consideration, though.

The Family Y proposed at the March 16 City Council meeting to raise rates to $3 for youth 17-years-old-and-younger and $5 for adults 18-and-over, but those figures may change again. In the same proposal, the Family Y requested to change the hours of operation to noon to 6 p.m., Monday through Sunday. However, the Council did not take action on the item and removed it from the agenda.

"We're working out the pricing and times right now," Goroski said.

The pool rates have not increased in about 10 years, he added.

The Family Y also has requested the city raise the amount of the subsidy it pays the Y to operate the pools to $15,000, and also asked that the city be responsible for paying the electricity bills at the pools. The organization has agreed to pay the city any excess revenue remaining at the end of the summer.

An average of 20 to 30 people use the pools every day, though it can sometimes be as few as 10 or as many as 60, according to an estimate provided by the Family Y. That number doesn't include several local daycare and church groups and the Family Y's own summer camp that often rent the pool several hours a day for three to four days a week, Goroski said.

Due to federal regulations, all public swimming pools must conform to new safety standards for pool drains under the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. The 2009-2010 preliminary city budget currently includes a $10,000 item set aside to make improvements to the Peacock pool, but the pool at Mina Weil is already in compliance with the regulations, Mrs. Charles said.

"Mina Weil should be fine, I've just got to get some certification on it," she said.