Herald Journal Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, April 15, 2002

LP pool drowning financially

By Julie Yurek

There's no doubt about it ­ the Lester Prairie outdoor pool is losing big money.

Revenue for the pool, which is 35 years old, was approximately $11,901 in 2001, with expenses reaching about $70,000 to $75,000, park board member Chris Schultz told the City of Lester Prairie at last Monday's council meeting.

The revenue, including pool admission fees, swimming lesson fees, and concessions, Schultz said.

Pool visits during the day were 3,625 and evening 1,731 for a total of 5,356. This amounted to an average cost of $14 per visit, Schultz said.

"For every person in that pool, it is costing the city $14 in operating cost," Schultz said.

He then compared this cost to other park facilities like Little League, the playground, events and other park uses, which came out at about 35 cents.

The total park fund budgeted amount was $73,300 and the actual amount spent was $91,875.

"The cost of the expenses will only go up," council member Larry Hoof said.

In order to save money this year, the park board suggested possibly cutting back the pool hours, perhaps from 2 to 7 p.m, with a break, Schultz said.

"I heard that a neighboring town is looking at busing children to Lester Prairie this summer (because of the pool)," City Clerk Marilyn Pawelk said.

In other related matters, Schultz spoke of replacing the parking lot fence by the pool. The new fence would be 10 feet high instead of five feet.

Schultz will need to come back with a formal request and quotes for cost on the replacement fence, the council said.

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