Newton pool revenue dips during first month

City investments in Newton's swimming pool are up and revenue is down, but plans for the future aims to help keep the facility — and pool goers — afloat during the rest of the summer.

After Newton invested $42,600 to prepare the city's swimming pool for the summer season, the facility brought about $5,000 to city coffers during the 16 days it was open in June.

"This is a good service amenity that the city offers," Newton Mayor Robert Mullinax said of the swimming pool.

While Newton Recreation Director Sandra Waters said attendance and concession sales are down compared to June 2009 — when the pool was last opened for the summer — she said her department has plans that aim to help revenue grow during the rest of the summer.

"We have a decline from 2008-09, and that is attributed to day cares this year," she said. "We did not have as many daycares this year, and the day cares themselves are having fewer children than ever."

Many day cares, she said, finalize their summer schedules in March. In May, Newton officially decided to reopen its swimming pool after a one-year hiatus.

During the 16 days it was open in June, the pool welcomed an average of 61 swimmers every day. For the month, 631 people visited the pool.

During June 2009, the pool welcomed 1,826 people. Revenue from public swimming and day cares during June totaled $3,024, which is down $665 compared to June 2009.

In addition to day care declines, Waters cited June as a "popular month for vacations," as well as camps, vacation Bible schools and mission trips.

"There has also been an insurgence of family-size inflatable pools," she said.

Still, she said attendance was "not down that much." Concession sales, however, are a different story.

"We have seen a significant decline in in the amount of concessions sold," Waters said. "The economic climate plays a factor."

During June, concession sales produced $2,019 for the city, which is a decrease of $1,193, compared to June 2009.

"We are in the process of re-establishing our clientele," she said.

Newton sent 5,500 flyers promoting the swimming pools to area day cares, as well as five Newton-Conover system schools and four schools in the Catawba County Schools system, Waters said.

"We don't know if the parents or children received them," she said.

In addition to opening the pool Monday through Saturday from 1-6 p.m., the city's recreation department is also offering new opportunities at the pool. This week, the first evening water aerobics classes were offered, and Monday's class welcomed 19 people, Waters said. Thursday brought night swimming, which opened the pool until 8 p.m., she said.

The recreation department is also pursuing Red Cross certified swimming instructors to begin offering swimming lessons.

"We have got to have a certified instructor on board," she said. "We had to beat the bushes to find one."

The swimming season may even be longer than years past.

"We have talked about it with the guards we have this year," she said.

"We are hoping to stay open maybe on weekends until Labor Day."