If you and your family have already taken a swim at a local pool, you definitely aren’t alone.

More people are visiting pools from Edinburgh to the southside and are spending more money, compared to the same time last year. Local pools have met capacity on some days.

Local officials say the higher attendance and revenues are at least partially due to better weather.

Last June had record low temperatures and storms that hampered attendance.

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“We lost almost half the month of June last year because of bad weather,” said Chip Orner, Franklin Parks and Recreation director.

But this June has been hot, with several days topping 90 degrees.

Most local pools opened the last weekend in May. The Franklin Family Aquatic Center opened one week earlier in mid-May.

The Franklin center broke a record for revenue in May, bringing in $73,489, Orner said. And the pool likely will set a record for June if the dry, warm trend expected for the rest of the month continues, Orner said.

“If (the weather forecast) holds true, we may break a record for June,” he said.

Freedom Springs Aquatic Center in Greenwood has had about 15,000 visitors so far this year. Last year, they had 20,909 visitors by this time, but the pool was open an extra four days last year.

Attendance overall is trending upward, said Rob Taggart, Greenwood Parks and Recreation director.

Unseasonably warm temperatures have been a big boost to local pools’ numbers, officials said.

At the Edinburgh Aquatic Center, attendance so far this summer has doubled, compared to last year, pool manager Eric Whitlock said. About 400 swimmers are coming to the pool daily, while about 200 swimmers went to the pool each day last year, he said.

Temperatures didn’t reach into the 90s until mid- to late-July last year, and some June days dipped into the 60s. Poolgoers have already swam in 90-degree temperatures this year, he said.

“If it is not sunny and warm, a lot of people do not like coming to the pool,” he said.

That warm weather started early this year, including Memorial Day weekend, when most pools opened.

On Memorial Day, 1,460 people took a dip in Franklin’s pool, putting the pool at capacity for part of the day, Orner said.

One recent Saturday, the Perry Park pool on the southside had a wait for people to get in, said Jeremy Fiete, pool manager.

Swimmers had already filled the pool to capacity, forcing people in line to wait for others to leave before they could come in, he said.

“It was a hot, hot, day,” he said. “It was one of the busiest days I can remember.”

About 1,200 more people have splashed around in the Perry Park pool in the first few weeks after it opened this year, compared to 2015, Fiete said.

“It’s already off to a much better start,” he said.

Local pools have also made improvements to try to draw in more people, which officials say is also impacting their attendance numbers.

At the Edinburgh aquatic park, families can play trivia with the lifeguards on Tuesdays or have a water balloon fight with them on Wednesdays.

“We try to make it a very big family atmosphere,” he said. “We are constantly trying to do things with kids.”

And in Franklin, the pool has hosted more events, such as dive-in movies, in recent years, Orner said.

“We try to take advantage as much as we can, the excitement of the pool opening,” he said.

And at Freedom Springs, employees have worked to address issues identified last year in their inaugural year, Taggart said.

Last year, some swimmers were put off by longer lines. So the city put in different payment methods to get people in faster, such as having employees get credit card payments from people waiting in line and having a prepaid punch card, Taggart said.

The city also began marketing the park more, starting and as soon as the 2015 season ended, he said.

“We have our feet underneath us better this year,” Taggart said.

By the numbers

Here is a look at attendance and revenue numbers for local pools for the first month to five weeks that they were open, compared to the same time last year.

Edinburgh Aquatic Center

Average daily attendance in June

2015: 200

2016: 400

Franklin Family Aquatic Center

Pool revenue

May 2015: $63,741.02

May 2016: $73,489.06

Freedom Springs Aquatic Park, Greenwood

Attendance since opening

2015: 20,909

2016: 14,474

Perry Park Pool

Attendance since opening

2016: 5,200

2015: 4,000

Author photo
Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at mkritsch@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2770.