Summer will soon be here, and that means long afternoons of splashing, swimming, and sunning at local pools.
But did you know that maintaining the city's pools, Juniata Memorial and Prospect, is not only a major expense for the Central Blair Rec Commission, but one that is always in the red.
Executive director Mike Hofer expects an operational loss on the pools year, but in this economy, it's hard to predict what the summer will bring. When it comes to the pool facilities, the reality may be: use 'em or lose 'em.
"That's the last thing I want to see happen, which is why it's important for the community to take advantage of these facilities," said Hofer. "You can only justify so much loss."
With that in mind, the CBRC is making pool play more affordable this year, offering season passes for a 20 percent discount through May 29. That means a family of four in the same household can save $25 on their summer pool pass.
The pool facilities are also available for private parties at select times throughout the summer at the rate of just $100 per hour for a minimum of two hours. So now is the perfect time to start planning a special birthday party or family reunion poolside.
Hofer says, "It's a major problem trying to get people to the pools. We're trying to minimize the loss in our budget as much as possible."
When summer swelters, swimming pools are a great way to beat the heat, and a whole lot more. But public pools are not used today the way they were in decades past. Many of us can remember long afternoons of water games, picnic lunches and catching up with friends at a local pool during summer vacation, and it would be nice to see those days return.
The city's pools are staffed by certified lifeguards, all with CPR training, making the facilities a safe and healthy alternative to hours of video games.
"It's great exercise to go out and swim some laps in the pools, especially at Prospect,'' said Hofer. "And it's just a great way to get out in the community, meet new people, and socialize somewhere that's not in front of the computer or TV."
The CBRC offers a variety of summer activities for children, including a Summer Playground Program, Caring Bears Recreation Camp (Daycare), and T-Ball and instructional baseball programs. The Commission's Concert Series at Valley View Park is well-attended, particularly by families and senior citizens.
Still, the biggest concern for the CBRC is keeping people in the pools, and this summer may prove to be the make-it-or-break it year for the two local landmarks.
For more information on the pool facilities, visit www.cbrcparks.com.
Kellie Goodman can be reached at email@example.com. Her column appears on Tuesdays.