Some Wentzville residents recently noticed a change in the hours of operation for Progress Park Pool and Splash Station and voiced their concerns on Wentzville Mayor Nick Guccione’s Facebook page.
“I hope this is not true that the city is cutting the hours of our pools? It would be poor taste to cut the hours so working parents cannot take their children during the summer,” one resident said.
Mike Lueck, Director of Parks and Recreation for Wentzville, addressed the shortened pool hours at Monday night’s park board meeting at city hall.
Progress Park Pool hours were shortened two hours, closing at 5 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Splash Station hours were shortened one and one-half hours, closing at 6:30 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Both pools open for the day at noon as in previous years.
With Progress Park Pool, Lueck cited a drop in usage between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Hourly head counts, and swipe and admission data backed up what pool staffers had observed. “Folks were leaving at 5 p.m. to grab dinner before going to baseball practice or other activities,” Lueck said.
Lueck also explained that in previous years, many working parents couldn’t access swim programs because the lessons would be too late in the evening. “It is very difficult for parents to bring a 2-year-old to an 8 p.m. swim class,” he said. Because of the new hours, the Spring/Summer 2015 edition of Fun Times, Wentzville Parks and Recreation Department’s brochure, now lists 224 swim classes. Shortened open swim hours will also allow for more birthday party opportunities.
“Other facilities in St Charles County have shorter hours,” Lueck said, noting that when it came to open swim hours, Wentzville was the outlier.
Lueck said his data made this change reasonable and the change would bring increased revenue. “The pool was being underutilized and from a business standpoint, it just made sense.”