WARREN, Pa. – The combination of great summer weather and the full elimination of COVID-related gathering restrictions led to a “perfect storm” for a massive increase in the use of the C.A.R. Pool in 2022.
Acting City Manager Mike Holtz gave a recap of the 2022 numbers during Tuesday’s Parks and Recreation Committee meeting. The full data set provided to Your Daily Local after the meeting showed that total attendance was up nearly 50 percent over 2021.
“The revenue was up, swim days were up. I think we got a post-Corona bump,” Holtz said. “Plus the weather was great. So I think we got a little perfect storm there. Pool attendance was very good.”
Total attendance went up from 4,283 in 2021 to 6,335 in 2022, with the bulk of those people (2,686) in the 7 – 17 age demographic. The number of city residents who went to the pool more than doubled from 2021 (2,110 to 4,262) and was the highest city attendance in the last six years (the pool was not open in 2020 due to the pandemic).
“The city has continued to put money in there,” Holtz said. “We purchased a cover for it this year and the other capital things seen over the last 10 years or so. The city’s committed to what’s necessary to keep it going.”
Parks and Rec Chair Mike Suppa was also pleased with the number of people coming down from New York to utilize the facility. More than 21 percent of attendees (1,370) this year were from New York.
“I also noticed that New York State is (using the pool),” Suppa said. “And that’s why I feel it’s important that we make sure that they continue to know about the pool. It’s been 20 to 25% of the attendees for the last three years.”
Holtz said the lifeguard staffing arrangement the city has with the Warren County YMCA has been a big benefit as well.
“Thank goodness for the Y because they have their pool and the city’s pool,” Holtz said. “So I think that helps to get enough guards.”
As for the summer playground program, Holtz said the program went well this year despite some staffing issues. The city had committed enough funds in the budget to open three playgrounds, Lacy, Beaty, and Crescent, but only Lacy and Beaty opened because there weren’t enough supervisor applicants.
“The city really struggled to get playground supervisors and even raised the pay significantly for this year,” Holtz said. “And we still have had issues.”
Holtz said the city is looking to try to have three playgrounds open next summer provided there is adequate staffing.