Country-club-level proposed fees generating concerns

~ by Bob Volpe ~

Residents React Negatively to Pool Prices

Now that the price schedule has been released by the city, some
residents are expressing disbelief at the cost of some options.

The fee schedule became public on Sept. 8th and reaction by residents
on the Woodland Park Community Facebook page ranged from mild
acceptance, to shock, and outrage. The majority of negative reviews
centered on the Annual Pass fees, especially those for families.

Former administrator for the community page, Tim McMilen said,
“Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. I am
not willing to pay these prices. My personal opinion is they are
ridiculous. But to each their own.”

Resident Joseph Marney said, “$1368 a year for my family to get an
annual pass. Sick joke.”

Jessica Oriet commented on the cost of family annual passes, she said,
“I think as a family you’ll have to take into consideration how many
times you’ll actually go swimming and then do the math of how much
that would cost you per person and pick the best option of how you
want to pay for that. Swim at the rate that you can afford. No one is
being forced to pay for an annual pass, and there are a lot of options
here for how to access the pool. The daily swim rates are on target
with every other swimming pool in this area. Swimming lessons are
extra perks, and you should typically expect to pay extra for that.
Realistically, my family may use the pool 10 times a year, which based
on the daily rates would cost me about $190 a year maybe a little more
or less depending on if both my husband and I swim. Thus… I would
never consider an annual pass because I’d be paying for more swim time
than I’d ever use.

There were several posts made comparing the Aquatic Center pricing to
fees at other fitness centers and pools around the state. Posters
brought up community pool and fitness center fee scales from Salida,
Gunnison, and Pueblo among others.

Blake Miller commented, “Seems expensive. A family pass to the
Gunnison rec center is $250 (no matter how many are in your family),
and in addition to swimming includes a gym, climbing wall, gymnastics
room, pool tables, ping pong, senior center… Built with tax money
and our donations, isn’t this supposed to be a service to the families
of Teller County and not a way to line government pockets?”

The subject of discounts for certain categories also raised the ire of
some. Downtown Development Authority treasurer, Tanner Coy posted, “I
do not think it’s appropriate for City staff, Council, boards and
commissions to receive discounts. Discount for seniors? YES. Discount
for military? Perhaps. Discount for City staff and officials? NO. I
recognize the City staff, Council and others may be taxpaying citizens
like everyone else, and are entitled to precisely the same benefits
and costs as everyone else…nothing more, nothing less. I’m on a
board that would qualify for a discount, but I would feel guilty if I
accepted a discount to this facility.”

Resident Debbie Griggs replied, “Not one bit surprised… totally
expected… but why do school staff & board members, city staff, and
elected officials get discounts?”

Not all the comments were negative. Some respondents had a more
measured opinion.

Shannon Adam has a family to consider. She posted, “I think as a
family you’ll have to take into consideration how many times you’ll
actually go swimming and then do the math of how much that would cost
you per person and pick the best option of how you want to pay for
that. Swim at the rate that you can afford. No one is being forced to
pay for an annual pass, and there are a lot of options here for how to
access the pool. The daily swim rates are on target with every other
swimming pool in this area. Swimming lessons are extra perks, and you
should typically expect to pay extra for that. Realistically, my
family may use the pool 10 times a year, which based on the daily
rates would cost me about $190 a year maybe a little more or less
depending on if both my husband and I swim. Thus… I would never
consider an annual pass because I’d be paying for more swim time than
I’d ever use.”

Travis Seabolt said, “I think the city has done an outstanding job.
You guys should try looking at prices in larger towns. Seriously, do
some simple economics. This is not that bad. I realize that everyone
thinks that a city owned facility should be free, but look at simple
operational costs. Sad that people’s feel so entitled. Nice job WP. We
are moving forward in the right direction for our kids and community.”

When asked to comment on the price schedule, City Manager David
Buttery said he had not yet seen the community page responses. He did
say that, “I’ve only gotten a few emails about them. I know the
community page is where a lot of the chatter is taking place. Looking
at the fee structure, we studied it really really hard. Our goal was
to do something that was comparable to what we thought were our
competitors, the Manitou Springs pool, and the YMCA system and I think
we’ve done a really good job in providing a fee structure that has
great flexibility, is fair and reasonable, provides great value for
our citizens and the community alike, citizens and non citizens of
Woodland Park. We’re working on some documents that we can share with
others to show that. We didn’t publish the comparisons that we used,
and so we think that would be helpful for people to understand. Again,
I’ve not read the community page, so I think that our fee structure is
fair and reasonable, and gives great value.”

He stressed the fee structure being the same for both residents and
non residents of Woodland Park. He said, “We have one fee for anyone
who wants to use the pool, whether they live here or in Alaska. We
know that many of our tax paying dollars come from people who live
just outside the city limits, so it didn’t seem reasonable to create a
different structure for folks that are not within the city limits,
because everyone has helped contribute for paying for this.”

The folks at the Aquatic Center Project declined to comment.

Proposed Aquatic Center fees

The final fee structure proposed by the city includes the following:

*Daily use fees– Youth (under 17) $5; children under 2 free; Adult (18-59) $7; Seniors (60+) $5; Family (up to 4 people)$24; Extra family members $4 each.

*A 3 Month Pass–Youth (under 17) $150; Adult (18-59) $240; Seniors (60+) $150; Family (up to 4 people) $ 380. Extra family members, $60.

* A six Month Pass–Youth (under 17) $225; Adult (18-59) $315; Adult + one family member $405; Seniors (60+) $225; Family (up to 4 people) $552.00. Extra family members, $92.

*Annual Pass — Youth (under 17) $300; Adult (18-59) $420; Adult + one family member $540; Seniors (60+) $300; Family (up to 4 people) $888; Extra family members $160.

*10 Day Plunge Punch Card — Youth (under 17) $35; Adult (18-59) $55; Seniors (60+) $35.

*20 Day Plunge Punch Cards —  Youth (under 17) $60; Adult (18-59) $100; Seniors (60+) $60.