Pool revenues double in facility’s first year Park smoking ban tabled while enforcement wording is debated

By on September 12, 2012

By: GARY P. KLINGER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

What a rookie year it was for the new Ephrata Community Swimming Pool.

Community Service Committee Chair Tom Reinhold noted that the just completed 2012 season at Ephrata Community Pool was wildly successful, with total attendance nearly doubling. Annual revenue more than doubled with season ticket and day pass sales rocketing to new highs.

2012 compared to 2011

Total Attendance: 57,080 vs. 32,680.

Daily Average: 565 vs. 333.

High Day: 2,147

Season Tickets Sold: 1,115 vs. 598.

Total Revenue:

$255,790.50 vs. $121,137.84

Season Ticket Sales:

$148,691 vs. $74,526.00

Day Passes:

$103,911 vs. $44,610.55

Interim Executive Director of the Ephrata Recreation Center Jim Summers reviewed the data and noted that average daily attendance in June was 673 and in July 674 per day, with each month exceeding 20,000. This is nearly double the 10,300 in June 2010 and 14,100 in July, 2010. He added that the 2012 budget projected revenues in the amount of $180,000 through Aug. 20, with receipts of $244,976.

"Overall I’m very happy with how the pool went this year," said Reinhold. "We had some constructive criticism but we do look to improve on this in year two."

Smoking in parks

A resolution which could have prohibited use of tobacco products in Ephrata Borough parks has been tabled and sent back to committee.

But the reason for the resolution being tabled was over wording more than whether or not the borough should adopt such a policy. There seemed to be commonality among Ephrata Borough Council members on the idea that the borough should support healthy lifestyles by banning smoking. At issue was the fact that the resolution lacked any power to curb such activities.

Wording of the resolution would have prohibited the use of all tobacco products in all borough parks, park facilities, sports fields and playgrounds, except in designated areas, which have yet to be determined for the affected properties.

"Is that really a correct statement of policy," posited councilman Anthony Kilkuskie? "Is it that we do want it but with voluntary compliance? I think it is a misstatement of what the policy actually says. We are adopting a no smoking policy but the policy is voluntary compliance enforcement."

A number of possible ways to reword the resolution were tossed around, but in the end it was council member Susan Rowe who introduced a second resolution calling for the matter to be tabled until the exact wording of the matter could be improved upon.

Council member Vic Richard likewise took issue not with the intent of the policy but the wording and enforcement aspects of it.

"This is to be enforced by voluntary compliance," questioned Richard? "And violators "may be" asked to vacate the premises?"

Council members admitted that with voluntary compliance, violators of the policy are under no real compunction to adhere to it. Even the police, while they are certainly able to ask a smoker to either stop or move to a designated area of the park, have no authority to issue citations or otherwise force compliance.

Even with one suggested rewording "encouraging the prohibition of tobacco products," some were concerned that the resolution lacked any teeth.

Borough Manager Bob Thompson stressed that this would be considered a park rule and that if violators of this or any other park rule cannot adhere to the rules they could be asked to leave the park. Kilkuskie, however felt that the measure did not even rise to making this a park rule.

"There will be signs etc., but this will give the police an opportunity to engage in conversation without it being considered harassment," said Kilkuskie. "

Council president Dale Hertzog weighed in on the matter.

"All I heard through committee was ‘voluntary,’ said Hertzog. "The fact is, they don’t have to (refrain from smoking)."

Prior to the 4-3 vote to have the measure sent back to committee, councilman Bob Good observed that even if a violator was asked to either leave or move to a designated smoking area, they could say they would rather not and not face any penalties.

"My thought on this is one, that it is a good idea; two, that yes, it is voluntary compliance so our officers are not out arresting people for lighting up a cigarette and three, that if any of the facilities will need a designated smoking area because it is a volunteer type thing," said Good. "My only problem (is with) requesting someone to vacate the area."

The measure is expected to make its way through the Community Services Committee and return at a future point for further consideration by the whole council.

For additional information on Ephrata Borough, visit ephrataboro.org. Gary P. Klinger invites your questions, suggestion and comments via e-mail at klingerglobal@gmail.com. More COUNCIL, page A6

About Ephrata Review