Bexley pool projected to run at deficit due to capacity limitations

Chris Bournea
ThisWeek
City of Bexley

The city of Bexley still is working out details for the planned May 29 reopening of the David H. Madison Community Pool, which was closed last year due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.  

Mayor Ben Kessler and Recreation and Parks Director Michael Price reported at City Council’s May 11 meeting that the pool is projected to operate at deficit of $40,000 to $75,000 because of safety protocols that will limit the number of patrons. 

Each time slot is 90 minutes, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. A maximum of 130 swimmers will be allowed each session, and there will be 20 minutes between each session.  

The season runs through Sept. 5. 

The recreation department is proposing a $5 admission for all individuals over the age of 1, regardless of age. At the meeting, city officials also discussed the possibility of offering $25 season memberships.  

“We think (offering memberships) will provide more people the opportunity to access the pool than could even do it before – not as much access in terms of time,” Kessler said. “But it would broaden the footprint of people who are using the pool and families who are using the pool, which puts us in a good position as we look toward more normal seasons in years to come.” 

The membership would allow individuals who plan to frequent the pool to save money, paying the one-time fee rather than daily fee, Price said. 

“There’s going to be some angst with the capacity limitations, but how do we do this in a way that hopefully allows for our residents to more often than not have a positive experience?” Price said. 

Kessler said the annual cost of operating the pool is $277,000, which includes the $185,000 contract with Loveland-based SwimSafe Pool Management to oversee the pool’s operations.  

Kessler, Price and council members discussed options to cover the projected deficit.  

Kessler said the city could tap into the $344,000 balance in the city’s pool fund; use funds from the CARES Act passed last year to assist state and local governments with COVID-related expenses; or use funds from the American Rescue Plan that recently was passed.  

Council members agreed to hold a special meeting at a later date to complete details for the pool season and further discuss how to cover the operating deficit.  

Council member Jen Robinson said it’s important pricing be affordable for residents. 

“I want to make sure that we’re thinking about access to the pool for all of our residents too, and that we don't charge a fee that’s so high that we’re now shutting out to people in our community who actually really want to participate,” Robinson said. “I just want to put that out there so that we're making sure that we're making access to the poll open for everyone in the community.”  

The guidelines for the pool season, which Price said may be revised, include: 

• Patrons are required to register online in advance for time slots. Registration opens noon Sunday for Monday-Thursday spots and noon Thursday for Friday-Sunday spots.  

• Each party will be limited to one time slot per day.  

• Masks must be worn when not in the water. 

• Patrons who are not in the same group must maintain 6 feet of distance. 

• A limit of 10 people will be allowed to gather in the same space when not in the water. 

• Lounge chairs around the pool will be spaced to accommodate social distancing; patrons also can bring in their own chairs. 

• Swim lessons will be offered, but the usual six weeks of classes will be spread out over 10 weeks to minimize contact. 

For information, visit bexley.org/recreation

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