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Council Approves New Pool Fees

New fees are $5 for adults, $4 for ages 55 and older, and $2.75 for kids 3 to 17.

Fees for the new Rankin Park Aquatic Center, scheduled to open in July, will be significantly higher than the fees for the old pool, but less than staff had suggested. The new fees will be $5 for adults, $4 for ages 55 and older and $2.75 for kids 3-17 years old.

Some members of the City Council balked at staff’s recommendation for a $5 entry fee across the board for everyone older than 3 at its meeting Wednesday night. Particularly upset was Councilman Mike Menesini, who called the proposed fee “outrageous.”

Staff and members of the Park, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission had suggested the $5 fee as a way of recouping the operating costs of the $5.7 million center, which is estimated to cost $170,000 annually to run. Staff member Patty Lorick said that the facility will cost more because everything runs on electricity, there are more pumps for the larger pool and more lifeguards are needed.

Vice Mayor Janet Kennedy supported the increase, noting it was “a beautiful new facility” that would attract people from throughout the area.

But members of the public, and some on the council, were upset about the rate.

“If we’ve overbuilt so we have to overcharge, shame on us,” said Carolyn Boone-Duncan. “Five dollars seems like a lot, especially if you have more than one kid.”

Dick Duncan agreed. He noted that he used the old pool to lap swim, which cost $1.

“I’m anxiously awaiting the pool to reopen,” he said. “But these new fees are blowing me out of the water.”

PMRCC commissioner Richard Patchin explained that the old fee schedule was far too low to recover operating expenses. He said the commission had considered a $4 entry fee across the board, but began with $5 “as a negotiating point” with the council.

Menesini said he opposed any fee increase.

“Frankly, I don’t want to raise these rates at all,” he said. “I’m bothered by the fact that families that live on Arreba Street and Estudillo Street are now going to be asked to pay $5 apiece for a flock of kids. It’s outrageous. This is a community pool. It’s for kids who don’t have a swimming pool in their back yard."

Councilwoman Lara DeLaney suggested raising the rates for swimming lessons instead, to make up the difference in operating costs, and keep the entrance fees lower. Lorick replied that raising rates in the past for lessons resulted in a significant drop in attendance.

On a suggestion from City Manager Phil Vince, the council agreed to a fee structure that was lower for kids and seniors.

lyssa April 23, 2011 at 11:36 AM
Think ,NOT GREEN !Who would have thought A new facility with no solar energy designed into the plan ? I certainly hope there are plans to keep the pool open at night (more often the not), families could actually use it together after dinner . If you keep the pool open at night it also will give older kids a place to go and hang out, the ones that don't have a pool in there back yard to cool off.
Nicole diGiorgio April 28, 2011 at 04:20 PM
What about introducing some sort of monthly rate for frequent users of the pool? Was that option discussed?
Cooki Telles April 28, 2011 at 09:51 PM
I agree with both of the previous comments. A monthly pass would be great for those of us close enough to go anytime. The hours open will be important to support the entrance fee and I hope a stamp will be used for re-entry in the same day. What about a non-resident higher rate?
Nicole diGiorgio April 28, 2011 at 10:25 PM
They would need to be careful about how the monthly pass is priced. Currently it costs $257 per month for a family of four to go to Renaissance Clubsport--which offers the full gamut of upscale gym services. The YMCA is priced at around $100 per month. The Pleasant Hill Pool Swim admission is markedly lower in price and some consider Pleasant Hill to be a more upscale community. How is it that Martinez residents pay more than P.H. residents for entrance to a park already funded by a voter-approved bond? Pleasant Hill also recently went through a huge Aquatic Park renovation. Here are their prices: Swim punch cards and Season Swim Passes are valid for entry. Pleasant Hill Aquatic Park; 147 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill, 682-7830 Public Swimming Admission: Under 2 yrs Free 2–6 yrs $3.50 7–17 yrs $4.00 18 yrs/older $4.00 Seniors 55 yrs/older $3.50 Season Swim Pass valid May 28-Sept. 5: 1 Person – $90 2 Persons – $135 3 Persons – $180 4 Persons – $225 5 Persons – $260

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