By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
The cost of improvements to Riverview Swimming Pool slated to be complete next fiscal year stirred discussion among council members about extending the pool season in order to get more use out of the short season attraction.
Of the portion of the hotel/motel tax the city receives, 2 percent is designated to Vision Iowa projects which are the marina, RV Park, stadium, skate park, pool, showboat theater and bandshell. For next fiscal year, the council decided to put $163,000 in improvements into the pool, with half to be requested from a Clinton County Development Association Fund Grant.
“If we’re going to put $200,000 into something I’d like it to be open more than 12 weeks,” Ward 4 Councilman Paul Gassman said during the council’s budget workshop on Monday.
“Maybe it’s your year to get these amenities, but in the future I’m interested in the marina and the RV park,” he said.
This year, the pool is scheduled to be open from May 28 to Aug. 11. The season is dictated by pool’s main customers.
“Ninety percent of our revenues come from kids. So that’s where the bang for the buck comes is being open when they’re able to come. Yes, it’s a 12-week season, we can extend that season, but there’s also costs associated with keeping water in the pool when nobody’s swimming or very few are swimming because everyone’s in class,” Recreation Director Gregg Obren said.
Ward 3 Councilwoman Bev Hermann said she has heard suggestions for the pool to be open until Labor Day later in the day so kids and their families can still enjoy the summer attraction after school and on weekends. Lap swimming during the day when kids are in school has also been conveyed as a desire in the community.
“If we want to try that we can certainly try that,” Obren said. “I can go put some pencil to paper and figure out what those costs potentially would be for the final three weeks of August.”
The potential costs include the roughly $800 a week it takes to keep water in the pool, Obren said. Personnel constitute the other major cost.
According to Obren, the pool lost $30,000 last year. At-large Councilwoman Jennifer Graf asked how he felt the improvements, which include a drop slide, UV disinfection system, bathhouse renovations and pool shade, would affect this number.
“The big improvement will be from those around us will come to us. It’s not just going to be a Clinton pool. It will be a big draw,” Obren said.
The improvements will not only add to the service provided at the pool, but will add to the aesthetic appeal, according to Obren.
“Pools need to be colorful,” Obren said,
To which Gassman responded, “They need to be open.”
The council unanimously approved funding the improvements, which will be contingent upon receiving the CCDA grant.