Hot is cool for the pool
ANDY FASNACHT Review Editor email@example.com
, Staff Writer
While the heat wave the area is currently experiencing can cause all kinds of problems and safety concerns throughout town, one location may find it turning around its fortunes this summer.
With a June plagued by cloudy and rainy days, the Ephrata Community Swimming Pool has seen a decline in attendance and income over its debut year with the refurbished facility. However, July is off to a great start and with the current heatwave sending carloads rushing off to the cooling relief of a day at the pool, those numbers will likely continue to improve.
"Through July 7, total receipts for 2013 were $176,480 compared to $208,040 (in 2012)," said Ephrata Borough Manager Bob Thompson, also indicating that season membership revenues were also down by almost $12,000 over the past year.
"General admissions are down due to the fact that we had to close five days during this period, while (they) closed only once in 2012 (during that period)," Thompson continued.
But as stated, July is starting strong with Saturday, July 6 being the best day of the year thus far as 1,460 people came through the gates. That day also featured the top single general admission sales day since the renovation, with 671 patrons paying the one-day price.
"July is off to a good start," said Ephrata Recreation Center Executive Director Jim Summers Tuesday. He did point out though that by July 7 last year, there were already eight days with more than 1,000 in attendance while this season there have only been three such days. Summers also stated that in addition to the five days they were closed in June, the chilly opening day of the season, Saturday, May 25, could have also been a closed day with just a handful of patrons arriving.
Lititz Springs Pool is reporting similar results, with a tough June pulling down numbers.
"In June attendance was down," said Andy Amway, now in his 39th season with that pool. "It was not extremely hot with a lot of days in the ’80s with a threat of showers."
One thing that Lititz has not had to battle yet this year that Ephrata has, is the aptly named "Brown-Outs," where a section of the pool has to be closed down when fecal matter is discovered, for a state-mandated length of time during super chlorination.
Summers said there have been four of them at Ephrata thus far this year but the pool has had a "rash of them lately." Two of those occurred on two of the busier days of the year, July 4 and 6, sending patrons from the upper pool down to the competition pool.
Summers said they are aware of the disruption they cause and try to be proactive but unfortunately, the problem is typically not noticed as it occurs.
"We are typically not able to ID who did it," Summers said.
Amway said they typically will have "two or three" of these events each summer. While Ephrata has had four recently, they are actually a little behind last year’s pace of 10 for the season.
Otherwise things seem to be going rather smoothly in year two of the "new pool" and Summers feels they will have a better handle on attendance trends when Labor Day rolls around.
"A good sign will be August," he said. "Last year we had a drop-off after July 4 so a good comparison will be this August to last August."
More POOL, page A16