Attendance, revenue falter at pools across Allegheny County
Steve Skinger had the Highland Park pool to himself on Tuesday afternoon.
Two lifeguards watched as his arms cut through the otherwise empty water only minutes after a rain shower passed.
While soggy weather and cool temperatures helped keep people out of pools this summer, Skinger, 57, of Polish Hill swam nearly every day.
“We missed a few days because of things out of my control, but what are you going to do,” Skinger said, alluding to the summer's frequent thunderstorms.
Attendance and revenue numbers faltered at pools across Allegheny County, but officials said aquatic funding is designed to absorb a bad year now and then. Despite revenue off by as much as 31 percent at some pools, the county, city and municipal officials said they don't expect funding problems to surface next year.
“It's a long-term view,” Tim Ishman, Pittsburgh's assistant director of parks and recreation said of pool budgeting. “It's not just a knee-jerk reaction to a bad summer.”
It rained more, and more often, this summer than last, according to data provided by the National Weather Service in Moon. It rained 20 days in June, 18 days in July and 13 days by the last week of August. Total rainfall during that time period for 2013 topped 2012 by more than an inch.
Average temperatures for the summer months struggled to climb into the 70s. June's average temperature was 69.4 degrees, July's was 73.3, and August's was 69.3 degrees, the weather service reported. June and August featured days with low temperatures in the 40s. August has had 15 days with temperatures above 80 degrees, said Rihaan Gangat, a weather service meteorologist. A five-day stretch from July 15 to July 19 topped 90 degrees.
“Everything has been down this summer,” said Bob Hlebinsky, facilities director at the Mt. Lebanon Recreation Center, where revenue dipped 22 percent and attendance 11 percent. “This is one of the worst summers I can remember in the last couple of years in terms of rains and coolness.”
Allegheny County pools fared no better, where total attendance and revenue dropped 25 percent. Revenue at Boyce Park pool was down 31 percent, according to data provided by the county. By late August, nearly 50,000 fewer people visited county pools this year, generating $202,210.25 less in revenue. The county budgets conservatively in case of a bad summer, spokeswoman Amie Downs said in an email, and the parks department budget relies on more than just pool revenues.
“We can't guess what the impact may be, if any, until we're through the fiscal year,” Downs said.
Revenue for city pools was down 12 percent to $144,990, according to data provided by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's office. Attendance slipped 17 percent. The city, however, is discussing building a spray park, Ishman said.
For city pools to start feeling the financial pinch of a bad summer, there would need to be a substantial drop-off in the number of season passes — $30 for adults, $15 for children, Ishman said.
“We're not seeing that,” he said.
And then there is always next year, which is where Cranberry manager Jerry Andree is looking. Attendance at the township's pool was down 17 percent, and revenue was down 12 percent.
“Hopefully, next summer is a booming summer,” he said.
Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412- 320-7986 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Allegheny County adoption event joins 40 children with families
- Man’s death by runaway wheel on Route 28 ruled accident
- Newsmaker: Christopher W. Robinson
- 2 teenagers shot dead in Sheraden; man critically injured
- 6 shot at Clairton speakeasy; police seek suspects
- Youngsters embrace technology that combines art, software in 3D printing
- WVU frat brothers charged with hazing pledges
- Emergency personnel contain fire at Whitehall apartment complex
- Portion of Parkway West will be closed for weekend work
- Cyber dating abuse ‘common,’ Children’s scientists find
- Baltimore man killed in McKeesport crash