Private rental hours at the Union Splash-N-Swimplex may change next year.
At its meeting Thursday night, the Union park board backed a revision to the rental hours. The board’s recommendation will be passed along to the board of aldermen who have the final say on any changes.
The board’s suggestion would decrease rental time from three hours to two hours. Customers can purchase an additional hour for more money.
The idea is to generate revenue for the pool, but also to ensure the private rentals don’t operate at a loss.
The board began discussing the rental rates at its September meeting. Parks and Recreation Director Angela Sullivan said she crunched some numbers and realized that for 16 private events held in 2018, the pool actually lost money.
Parties can book for up to 40 guests for $220, up to 80 guests for $275 and up to 400 guests for $400. Each rental is for a three-hour block.
Just by calculating the direct expenses of lifeguard and managers, and not factoring in indirect costs like water and chemicals, Sullivan said the pool lost an average of $8.57 every time a private rental was held with 40 or fewer guests.
“There is a need to make some change,” she said. “Private rental is a luxury and we shouldn’t be giving it away.”
To address the issue, Sullivan proposed three possible scenarios. Under the first one, the private rental period would remain three hours, but the rates would increase.
Sullivan proposed raising the rates for the first group from $220 to $300, the second group from $275 to $350 and the largest group from $400 to $500.
Option two kept the rate the same, but decreased the pool time from three hours to two.
Both those options were presented in September, but neither one was backed by the board. Thursday night, Sullivan presented a third option.
Under scenario three, the rates would remain unchanged — parties for up to 40 guests would be $220, up to 80 guests would be $275 and up to 400 guests would be $400. The party block would be for two hours.
If the guest wanted a third hour, they would have to book in advance and pay an additional $100.
Sullivan said most groups probably don’t need the full three hours, but the option would be there.
As a bonus, by cutting the time Sullivan said it could be possible to squeeze in more rental periods. Depending on turnaround time, they pool could host two on the same night.
Sullivan even mentioned the possibility of a morning rental slot on summer weekends.
Under this scenario the pool would not be in a position where it would lose money directly by hosting a private event.
The board unanimously supported the idea. Sullivan said she will present the recommendation at the Dec. 10 board of aldermen meeting.