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Franklin pool admission up $1 to pay for upkeep

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Swimmers in Franklin will be able to use a new play area and water slide when the city pool opens in May but will have to pay more to get in.

The city is raising the admission price by $1 this year and aims to collect an additional $45,000 per year. Season passes also went up slightly.

Franklin is using part of a $3.6 million loan to add the items and remodel facilities at the pool this year, with the rest of the money being used to upgrade the city’s recreation center and parks.

Taxpayers will pay off that loan over the next 15 years, so the money from the admission increase will help the city pay for pool maintenance and upgrades as needed.

Pool project

On schedule: New additions and upgrades to the Franklin Memorial Swimming Pool are on schedule for the pool’s opening May 25.

Additions: The project will add a new zero-depth pool, play area and water slide and will renovate existing buildings and the pool deck.

Admission increase: Pool users will be asked to pay $1 extra in their admission fees this year, meaning the price will be $5 for adults and $4 for children. Season passes also will cost slightly more. The rate increase is expected to raise about $45,000 and will be put toward future pool improvements.

Loan payments: The pool project is included in a $3.6 million loan that will be paid back with tax dollars during the next 15 years and also is being used to fund other park improvements. The new loan replaced a 1998 park loan, which was paid off last year, which will keep tax rates about the same.

Work at the pool has continued through winter and is expected to finish by or before May 15, and the pool is on track to open May 25, Franklin parks superintendent Chip Orner said.

The $1.4 million pool project is adding a zero-depth pool, play structure and water slide.

Workers also are renovating pool mechanical systems, the concession stand, shower and restroom buildings and some areas of the pool deck, Orner said.

Admission rates will be $5 for adults and $4 for children. The increase is expected to generate an extra $45,000 based on the number of people who used the pool in 2012, Orner said.

The pool will stop charging $2 for chair rentals, which could reduce income by about $5,000, Orner said.

The city also will have to hire two new seasonal employees to help monitor the new play area, with wages expected to cost about $6,000 for the summer.

“The dollar increase, it actually goes to a fund that is earmarked for future improvements to the pool. That’s the only reason we raised the fee a dollar. That will let us support the facility itself,” Orner said.

The pool has more than doubled its income since 2008, bringing in about $212,000 in 2012, Orner said.

The expansion and renovation will allow more people to use the pool at one time, which could mean even more people will visit the pool this year.

A rate increase will help pay for future improvements, Orner said.

The city took out a 15-year loan of $3.6 million to cover the work being done on the pool and other park improvements throughout the city.

The overall tax rate won’t increase because of the loan, although it would have decreased if the city didn’t borrow the money. The city paid off a loan from 1998 last year and was able to borrow $3.6 million, while keeping the same tax rate for debt.

The rest of the money from the loan will be used to pay for an expansion at the recreation center, extend trails and replace playground equipment in city parks.

That work is expected to start in the spring when the parks reopen.

Franklin Mayor Joe McGuinness said the new loan will allow the city to continue to improve parks while not increasing taxes, which was a requirement for him when the loan was discussed last year.

Work on the pool project is ahead of schedule despite construction workers finding underground remains of previous park facilities, including a tennis court and mechanical room from the old pool. Some additional work was required, which increased the cost of the project by about $40,000 Orner said.

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