Anderson pool will be closed next summer

Photo by Luz Maria Espinoza via stock.xchng

At tonight’s Board of Park Commissioners meeting, one topic of discussion related to the Park Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for 2012 was the Anderson and Washington Pools.  Apparently, the Health Department inspected both pools and found issues to be addressed at each one.  The issues which need to be addressed at Anderson Pool, however, will close the pool for the entire summer next year.

Jeff Warnock, park superintendent, explained the mechanical fixes needed.  The valve and filter house controls needs to be brought up from an underground pit.  Currently, maintenance persons need to climb down a ladder, which is a dangerous proposition.  It’s possible to bring the pipes up by extending them.  The current pipes and wheels are rotting from the inside out.  The pressure gauge has crumbled around the pipe itself.  The fixes will make it more accessible and safer to work on.    

The intermediate pool, which has been down for three years, will be replaced by a large splash pad, with spray nozzles.  “It makes sense,” Warnock said.  “They have a lot of neat designs with lights.  We will do as much work in-house as we can.  Our own back-hoes will help with the digging.”

Chairman Michael Orth stated that this will be “a real inconvenience to Kenosha’s citizens.  Anderson Pool has more users than Washington Pool.  The pools serve a purpose.  They give the kids something to do, give people a place to go to cool off.”  He proposed the possibility of a lower price for season passes since onlyone pool will be available for use.

Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia suggested increasing pool hours for additional night swims, but staff reminded the commission that night swims can’t be scheduled because there is no underwater lighting.  Staff did discuss keeping the pool open on Mondays.  Frank Pacetti, city administrator, stated that they are not hiring any extra lifeguards.  “The revenues will decrease by almost $50,000 next year due to the pool’s closing.  All expenses related to Anderson Pool have been removed from the budget:  maintenance, chemicals, lifeguards, etc.”

Orth also asked to review the twenty-year-old agreement between the city of Kenosha and the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD), who is supposed to run the Recreation Department.  “Could they offer some programming for the city, possibly summer swim lessons?  That would be a nice gesture on their part.”  Orth also stated that now would be an opportune time to start discussions with the KUSD due to the fact that they have a new athletic director.

Alderperson Anthony Kennedy wanted to know when the work would start.  Shelley Billingsley replied that, once the budget is passed, requests for proposals will go out.  Work should start in early summer.

The Washington Pool only requires minimal work on the stair treads, which should be completed in early May.

Other topics of discussion regarding the 2012 budget included:

  • Reforestation, Tree and Stump Removal:  $85,000 for 2012.  Frank Pacetti, city administrator, stated that “not every tree that went down will be replaced.”  There is a slight increase for this year, down to $70,000 the following year, and then back up to $80,000 for the year after.
  • Equipment:  Pacetti stated that no new additional pieces of equipment are included in the 2012 budget, only replacement equipment.
  • Municipal Golf Course:  A small ice skating rink is planned for this year outside of the clubhouse, which will cost $6,000 to $8,000.  A ski trail groomer will be borrowed from the County to see if the city wants to purchase its own.
  • Harbor and Marina Dredging:  Next year, $0 has been assigned to this item.  Various ideas on how to raise revenue for this were discussed, including slip fees, asking other facilities for help (such as the Boys and Girls Club), and taxing fuel sales.
  • Field Office Buildings:  $0 for 2012.  A future cost (perhaps in 2013) will be the restoration of the parking lot.
  • Park Master Plans:  $522,000 has been budgeted for Petzke Park.  The priority is Petzke Park, then Sunrise Park.  Simmons Island will be worked on in future years.  Orth stated, “The quality of life depends on the quality of our parks.”

A review of the Park Division Executive Budgets followed.  Mayor Keith Bosman commented:  “Since the organization changes a few years ago, the parks are looking better.  The trees, equipment.  They’re doing a great job.  They’re headed in the right direction.”  Orth agreed.  “They’ve done more with less.”  The review yielded the following discussion items:

  • Maintenance and Construction:  This group is down one position, which has been vacant and unfunded for a couple of years.  Next year’s budget assumption shows the position now unfunded and vacant.  Parks mechanics are taking care of basic maintenance, thus saving the $75/hour that would have to be paid for a piece of equipment to be sent to the garage.  Planned maintenance of all equipment occurs three times a year.  Orth commented on the fact that, “one and one-half years ago, an agreement with Local 71 was reached on scheduling.  The workers can work on the weekends and take off two days during the week.  This is their normal schedule.  They are not being paid overtime, as most people think when they see city workers working on the weekends.  This is a model started in Parks.  We got the unions to agree.  It saved money.  Every year, we see the benefit.  Now, it’s being done in other divisions.”
  • Parks Administration:  Parks Baseball:  Last year, Orth asked for a survey of the parks system.  An intern has started the work on this survey, but it has not yet been completed.  It is expected to be ready by the summer of 2012.  New fee structure ideas for next year’s budget will then be reviewed.  Community group agreements with Parks will now be limited to no longer than a year.
  • Flower Gardens:  “The flowers look fantastic this year,” Orth commented.  “One suggestion I have is use more perennials.  They’re cheaper.”
  • Soccer Fields:  Again, no agreements beyond a year.
  • Beaches:  $0 for 2012.
  • Parks – Special Events:  The retirement of the special events coordinator will have a major impact on event planning for next year.  The mayor stated that next year, the 4th of July falls on a Wednesday, which will raise all kinds of issues.  The fireworks will be held on the 4th; the parade will be held on the previous Sunday.  Orth thought that most companies would give their employees off on the Thursday and Friday after the 4th.  There will definitely be some challenges.  The new person will work closely with Parks.  Pacetti commented that the departing coordinator took copious notes and prepared procedure manuals.  Alderperson Anthony Kennedy wanted to make sure that people know that Lincoln Park and Wolfenbuttel Park are available for weddings.  He suggested advertising in the Kenosha News’ special advertising sections on weddings.  The mayor stated that he’d like to see the golf course promoted more.  Kennedy is a big advocate of Channel 25.  There is a 24-hour loop on which ads can be placed.
  • General Maintenance:  A correction was made:  917 acres are mowed, not 957.  Central Garages is down $45,000.
  • Pools:  The pools were closed most of this past June due to weather.  The costs for Washington were up because of a pump problem.  Kennedy wanted to know how the swim coupons did.  A representative stated that they worked well.  People used them when they had a birthday party, for example.  You pay for 9 coupons and get 10.  Kennedy wanted to know if redemption was being tracked.  “Yes; there is about a 75% usage rate.”  Kennedy liked that.  The representative also promoted the season pool pass.  “At a certain point in the season, it’s not worth getting a season pool pass.  At that time, more coupons are sold.”
  • Forestry:  We pay a portion of this.
  • Golf Entertainment Fund:  April and May were horrendous for golfing this year due to the weather.  They were down over half the usual number of golfers.  May was not much better.  They are projecting revenues for 2012 to get back to normal.  They used to have tournaments almost every weekend, but for future years, this will be reduced.  More open play is being scheduled.  An e-mail mailing list is being created of all golfers, and a mass mailing will be sent this winter, informing people of the ice rink.  Warnock stated that Maintenance lost a supervisory position.  There are about 70 or 80 ash trees to address; four were taken down already due to infected bark.  LaMacchia asked if there was going to be an increase in pricing, but the answer was that this has not yet been discussed.  Kennedy wanted to know if feedback was solicited from golfers, and the representative stated that there were surveys for the golfers to complete.  Golfers want more memorabilia on the walls.  They’ve also received some complaints about the greens cutting.  Youth golf needs help.  Possibly, the Boys and Girls Club could start an indoor winter program.  There is a Father’s Day Tournament.  The representative is looking at starting a Mother’s Day Tournament.  Orth wanted to know if the golf course breaks even.  Pacetti replied that there is a small loss, about $25,000 or $30,000.  This is not a loss to the taxpayer, though; it comes out of the revenue fund.  The budget was $276,800 for 2011.  It was estimated at $210,392.  Spending was $233,487 as of yesterday.  Kennedy threw out the idea of offering an incentive to golfers to come to the golf course on days of inclement weather (possibly offering a drink or food special).  Kennedy said that an e-mail blast could be sent to the entire mailing list.  Bosman stated that about 75 to 100 customers are needed in order to break even.  Orth discussed the possibility of building some ranch condominiums near the Holy Rosary property.  He said that seasoned golf memberships could be created, possibly ten years down the road.  LaMacchia wanted to know about the cell tower lease expiration date, and the reply was that it is an on-going lease.

All of the budgets reviewed were unanimously approved by the commission.

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