Craig city pools increase admission fees | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig city pools increase admission fees

Eleanor C. Hasenbeck

Middle-school students take to the wave pool at Craig Pool Complex as part of Grand Futures Prevention Coalition's Splash Night in May 2017. Craig City Council on Tuesday voted to increase admission rates at the complex.

CRAIG — This summer, visits to the Western Slope's only wave pool will be more costly for most swimmers.

At the recommendation of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and Parks and Recreation Director David Pike, the Craig City Council increased many of the city pools' admission fees during its regular meeting Tuesday. The increased fees are expected to generate at least an additional $15,000 in revenue at the pool, Pike said.

The new fees are as follows.

• Daily child admission increased from $3.50 to $5.

• Daily student admission increased from $3.75 to $5.

• Daily adult admission increased from $4.50 to $7.

Recommended Stories For You

• Children’s passes increased from $70 to $75.

• 30-minute swim lessons increased from $40 to $50.

• 45-minute swim lessons increased from $40 to $60.

• Student passes remained $75.

• Adult passes remained $90.

• Senior daily fees and season passes remain free, but the age of eligibility was increased from 55 to 60.

A discounted family pass and evening family swim will be offered in the 2018 swim season.

"If we want to keep the great facilities that we have, we're going to have to endure admission increases," said Melany Neton, board president of the Craig Sea Sharks swim team and a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. "I know it's a hardship if you go daily, but I would encourage all families to buy a pass."

She also praised the safe environment the pool provides for the community's children.

The cost of season passes will remain similar to last year's fees. Pike said this is intended to encourage Craig residents to purchase passes and "reward loyalty," without establishing different daily admission rates for residents and non-residents.

Seniors' admission remains free, Pike said, because the most popular use of the pool for seniors is a water aerobics class, paid for by Northwest Colorado Health.

"Rather than putting a fee on for our seniors, being that our number-one activity that they participate in is already free, we thought we'd continue to leave that at no charge, but raise the minimum age from 55 to 60," he said.

Pike said the fee increases came as the aquatics department tries to keep pace with a rising minimum wage. In 2016, state legislation raised the minimum wage from $8.31 to $12 per hour over the course of four years.

"A minimum wage increase really affects our swimming pool, because our lowest-paid people obviously are getting minimum wage, and then, we build on that according to your responsibilities, your certifications and your experience and years served," he said.

This means that, as minimum wage increases, each person in the chain of responsibility will receive a raise at the same rate as the minimum wage increase. With 45 seasonal employees last year, that cost adds up.

Neton said the fee increases would not directly impact members of the Sea Sharks, but the team will budget to pay the increased cost of keeping a lifeguard on duty during meets.

To determine the new fees, Pike compared the cost of admission at Craig's pools to that of similar outdoor pools in Grand Junction, Fort Collins and Rifle. Craig's daily admission and swim lesson fees were the same price or less than other area pools, and its season passes were cheaper than all other area pools, except Grand Junction's. From this comparison, Pike drew up the new fee schedule and presented it to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

The future of Craig's pools were unclear throughout budget discussions last year, but ultimately, public outcry at council meetings lead city council and Parks and Recreation to seek ways to keep them open. Pool fees were last raised in 2014, an increase of about $0.50 across the board, according to Pike's presentation.