Aquatic Center rates could go up

Modest increases reflect upgrades at facility
Jan. 24, 2013 @ 08:42 AM

If you’re a member of the Lenoir Aquatic and Fitness Center, there’s a chance your membership could cost a little bit more soon.
The good news is the new rates are still favorable compared to facilities in other cities, especially considering the amenities offered at the center.
Rob Winkler, the director of the city’s parks and recreation department, said in Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting that a true apples-to-apples comparison was difficult because there aren’t many facilities in the area have indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, a weight room, racquetball courts and walking trails.
“We don’t want to price anybody out of coming to our facility,” Winker said. “Our increases are fairly low, but we feel like we offer a lot more than some of these other towns that have prices that are significantly higher.”
Statesville and Shelby were cited as examples of where Lenoir’s fee structure was more competitive while offering more amenities. Statesville’s annual membership rates for a resident family is $235. That membership is good for two adults and children under 12; each additional child over the age of 12 is an extra $50. In Shelby, there’s only an outdoor pool and no fitness center. A resident family there pays $120 for what amounts to a four-month membership.
Currently, Lenoir residents pay $33 for a monthly pass and $240 annually. A summer pass is $85. Individuals pay $25 per month and $160 per year, while the senior membership is $16 a month and $100 a year. Finally, students presently pay $18 a month and $125 per year. A student summer pass is $45. Non-residents pay $66 a month for a family monthly membership, $480 for an annual membership and $115 for a summer pass. Individuals living outside of the city limits pay $50 a month, $320 annually and $95 for a summer pass. Senior rates are $32 a month and $200 a year, while student plans are $36 monthly and $250 annually with summer plans costing $60.
Under the proposed rate structure, the resident family and individual monthly memberships would increase $5, while the annual plans would go up $40. Seniors would pay $4 more a month and $50 more per year, while student rates would increase $2 a month and $25 a year.
Non-resident family and individual plans would go up $10 a month, while seniors would pay another $8 per month. Students would see a $4 per month increase. According to the document outlining the proposed increases, non-resident annual plans would remain unchanged.
Winkler said the Aquatic and Fitness Center has about 1,000 total members. He proposed limiting membership plans to either monthly or annual, adding that the city could add a six-month membership if the demand for one was there. Winkler also said the facility is substantially improved, which adds value for those who use it.
“I think (members) are definitely getting their money’s worth,” he said. “I don’t suspect there will be a lot of problems with making these changes. I think they’ll be supportive, and I think there’ll be some revenue with these changes.”
Winkler said there will be a decision made about the rate structure sometime in March.