TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Attendance, revenue falter at pools across Allegheny County

Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, 11:39 p.m.
 

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 aaupperlee@tribweb.com.

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. Most back Holy Family’s plan to house children who crossed border
  2. Most back Holy Family’s plan to house children who crossed border
  3. Giant Eagle provides assistance to fight proposed Wal-Mart in McCandless
  4. Corbett christens $960K bus shelter, bicycle station in Robinson
  5. Foreign influx in Allegheny County at ‘tipping point’
  6. Peduto says city dropped UPMC lawsuit to help nonprofit payment talks
  7. Peduto offers ray of light to understaffed Pittsburgh building bureau
  8. McCandless OKs land development plan for potential Wal-Mart
  9. 1 intruder killed, other shot and wounded in Carrick home invasion
  10. Blind man accused in stabbing on South Side to stand trial
  11. Grand jury report says Western Psych failed to cooperate with police
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.