Financial and security issues will keep the aquatic center closed
The Aberdeen Aquatic Center will not open this summer.
The Aberdeen Parks and Recreation Council met in a special session on Wednesday afternoon and recommended not to open the pool, citing financial and health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s the horrible and responsible thing to do,” board member David Sandvig said at the end of his comments to the board.
Sandvig was not alone in his sentiment. Every board member present explained how difficult the decision not to open the pool was. Board member Tom Kuck was not present and board member Nick Gehrts appeared via video.
Aberdeen City Council heard about the plan to reopen earlier this week. It included limiting participation to 300 people at one time and dividing the bathing times into two three-hour sessions with time in between for sanitation.
Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Mark Hoven and City Manager Lynn Lander told council that the opening would result in a significant loss of revenue – from $ 75,000 to $ 150,000 – since the maximum capacity of the aquatic center is from 1,400.
Hoven told the park council on Wednesday that the total budget for the aquatics center was $ 400,000 and that about $ 388,000 in revenue each year. While the parks and recreation budget includes operating more than the pool, the ministry is limited on what can be used to cover any shortfall. Hoven said about $ 70,000 has been identified for the potential shortfall in the aquatic center’s budget.
Matt Prehn, chairman of the parks and recreation board, said there would likely be additional budget cuts later this year, but it’s not yet clear how many. The city would certainly have lost money by opening the aquatic center, he said.
“It’s definitely not a fun day,” said Prehn. “We all want this pool to be open. We have a great asset in the aquatic center.
There will be running expenses for the pool this summer for utilities and grounds maintenance. Hoven estimated them at $ 10,000 to $ 15,000.
Although the pool is not open, Hoven said that Travis Lemer, recreation / aquatics supervisor, and Gene Morsching, recreation superintendent, have some ideas for summer activities to “ease the pain.”