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updated: 6/1/2012 3:03 PM

Arlington Hts. Park District staggers pool openings to save money

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  • Frontier Park pool was open Memorial Day weekend. The Arlington Heights Park District kept three of its five outside pools closed last weekend to save money. Two will be closed this weekend.

       Frontier Park pool was open Memorial Day weekend. The Arlington Heights Park District kept three of its five outside pools closed last weekend to save money. Two will be closed this weekend.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer file photo

 
By David Conway
dconway@dailyherald.com

As the sun bore down and the temperatures reached the mid-90s last weekend, three Arlington Heights pools remained closed. Whether the weather cooperates or not, two of them will be closed this weekend, too.

Far from a missed opportunity, this is actually saving money, according to the Arlington Heights Park District. Beginning in the summer of 2009, the park department began staggering their pool openings.

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This year, Frontier and Pioneer Pools were open on weekends beginning May 26. Recreation Pool begins operations Saturday, June 2, while Camelot and Heritage Pools won't be open until Thursday, June 7.

Between the labor to prepare and operate the pools, and the cost of chemicals and utilities, the move has saved the park district $106,980 over the past three years, according to park district Executive Director Steve Scholten.

Superintendent of Recreation Sue Gwinnup called the move "the best decision we ever made." Between the graduation ceremonies of high school seniors and the holiday weekend, she said, it was often difficult to find people to staff the pools. She also said the staggered openings have not affected pool revenue.

"If you want to go to the pool, it won't matter if you go to Frontier or Pioneer or Camelot," Gwinnup said. "You're going to go somewhere; the fact that there's three instead of six doesn't matter."

Pool revenues, which include the Olympic Indoor Swim Center, have largely remained level over the past four fiscal years according to the park district's financial reports.

Revenues of $1,470,433 in 2010 marked a three-year low, but revenues of $1,569,133 in 2011 were the highest in the past 10 years. Gwinnup said revenues are largely weather-dependent.

The closed pools are all fewer than three miles away from the nearest open pool, with Camelot and Frontier representing the greatest distance at roughly 2.5 miles.

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