You might say things are going swimmingly well at the North Port Aquatic Center.
And that’s surely good news considering the rough start the fancy pool had to survive before it opened for good.
If you remember, North Port city commissioners struggled with the cost of the pool before finally giving the go-ahead. And then construction delays kept pushing back the opening date. And, finally, when things looked like they were in place, the Covid-19 hit.
It’s been one challenge after another, lending to skepticism if the city could afford to keep the pool open.
Well, the latest good news would indicate it’s a “yes.” While there are no huge profits yet, the pool is bringing in money, management seems to have a good handle on the most efficient way to run the operation and people are having fun.
A recent report noted the pool had taken in $707,049 income in ticket sales, commissions and rentals in the current fiscal year, with runs through Oct. 1. With any luck at all the total income will move closer to $800,000, even with school back in session.
Attendance has been great — there were more than 20,000 visitors in July alone. And, according to Tricia Wisner, assistant director for North Port Parks and Recreation, people are buying up plenty of chips, pizza and hot dogs.
The annual cost for staffing and maintaining the aquatic center will be near $1.5 million. So the city will lose some money this year. Hopefully as word spreads how much fun the center can be and the budget and operating manual is tweaked the costs and income will be closer to even — maybe even some profit will be made.
But high school swimmers who have their first meet planned in a couple weeks, families enjoying the slides and water and those participating in aerobics and other activities are having a ball. The aquatic center enhances the quality of life in North Port and that, we believe, makes the center a success.