New features coming to Jasper pool

Herald file photo by Jacob Wiegand

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

JASPER — Ever wanted to ride a mechanical bull in a swimming pool? You’ll soon have the chance at the Jasper Municipal Swimming Pool. Well, sort of.

Inflatable bull pool toys — officially known as “Inflatabulls” — and poolside basketball hoops will make their debut at the city watering hole this summer, as will revamped facilities that are handicapped-accessible.

Though swim trunks and cannonballs might seem distant today, Recreation Director Janessa Wagner explained that the enhancements are part of her efforts to boost swimmer attendance.

According to Herald archives, after booming 2016 and 2017 seasons, attendance at the Jasper Municipal Swimming Pool dropped by about 1,000 swimmers in 2018, and the pool pulled in almost $10,000 less than it did the prior season.

Now, Wagner is interested in how small improvements can make a positive impact.

“Obviously, in the long run we would love a new pool,” she said after Tuesday’s park board meeting. “Our pool, I think, was originally built in the 50s and 60s. It is very dated. The upkeep, the maintenance ... we’re very grateful that it’s still existing.”

The upcoming changes stem from discussion among park board members, as well as research into other municipal pools in the state and residential pools.

Maintenance upgrades at the Jasper pool include a new ticket booth, handicapped-accessible changing rooms in both the men and women’s locker rooms, a remodeled manager’s office and other site enhancements.

Wagner said in August that pool parties have a big influence on attendance and revenue, and also said weather has a huge impact on those numbers every year. June 2018 was filled with storms and rain that forced the pool to close — some days shortly after opening — due to inclement conditions.

“Even on a cool day, parents don’t like to bring their kids,” Wagner said.

Herald archives show that last year, 15,128 swimmers visited the facility, while those numbers were 16,113 in 2017 and 16,906 in 2016. A yearly report showed the pool still made more money last summer than it did in 2014 and 2015, and the facility also brought in more swimmers in 2018 than it did during the 2014 season.

Wagner encouraged residents to visit the pool this summer because it offers a getaway and serves as a point of connection in the community.

“I grew up with these programs and going to the pool,” she said. “Yes, you have your own pool at home. But the city pool is a great way for you all to meet in one space and hang out at a cheap price, and just be free and have a good time and be with one another.”

The pool will open for the 2019 season on Memorial Day weekend in May.    




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