Things may be turning around at Harold Hall Quarry Beach.
Attendance was up 25 percent this summer over last year, the second straight year of growth, according to the end-of-season report presented to the Batavia park board Tuesday.
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The general daily attendance total of 35,513 swimmers was the highest since 2006. In the last 15 years, attendance has ranged from a high of 56,162 in 1998 to a low of 20,866 in 2008.
The beach was open 71 days this summer, one week longer than last year. The district was criticized in 2010 for not opening it until several days after Batavia public schools let out for the summer. This year, it opened the Friday before dismissal. It was open noon to 6 p.m. daily, and until 7 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The new family passes proved immensely popular, with 757 being sold. That bumped overall pass sales to 1,053, 68 percent more than in 2010.
Some of the increased pass sales probably came from a decline in the sale of the 10-admission punch card. The district sold $2,995 worth of those this summer, compared to $5,195 worth last year.
Daily admissions were up 20 percent.
Nearly 30 percent of Quarry Beach's revenue this year came from its "Way Back When-sday" promotion. For the second year in a row, the Quarry offered $2 admission ($5 for nonresidents) on Wednesdays, and conducted special activities. Normal daily admission is $7 for residents, $10 for nonresidents. The district also offered a twilight admission of $3 for swimmers from 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
One disappointment listed in the report was the lifeguard staff's failure to attain a four-star rating from Starfish Aquatics, which evaluates the lifeguards. It failed one of three secret audits because one of five lifeguards observed that day failed to properly scan her zone. She was eventually fired. They passed another audit, but were criticized over lifeguards' "presence in the chair." They had poor posture, played with their hair, didn't have their rescue tube in the right place and didn't follow proper procedure for transitioning guards. Despite this, the district received a three-star rating, out of five, for the season, and so will get a refund from its insurance risk management agency that will cover the cost of the Starfish training.
Meanwhile, renovation work continues to reduce leakage of water from the Quarry to the Fox River. Time-lapse videos of work done Sept. 23 and 29 can be seen at bataviaparks.org/about-contact.htm.