By BECKY KISER
Season passes to the Hays Aquatic Park and Wilson Pool were up significantly in 2018, while general admission was down slightly.
A season financial report was presented to the Hays city commission Thursday night by Jeff Boyle, parks director, and Roger Bixenman, Hays Recreation Commission (HRC) superintendent.
The city contracts with HRC to manage the pools. Separate city general fund budgets pay for maintenance of the pools, along with the operating contract. The contract stipulates any operating loss or surplus incurred by HRC will be shared 50/50 as long as the HRC’s portion of the loss does not exceed $26,000.
The 2018 total HRC loss was $39,337.40 of which the city will pay 50 percent, or $19,668.70.
Commissioners unanimously approved the HRC reimbursement request after Shaun Musil asked what effect there would be on attendance if admission was raised by one dollar.
“I don’t think it would hurt attendance,” Bixenman responded. He noted adult admission was raised three or four years ago.
“We are affordable. We’re doing the early bird season passes now,” said Bixenman. “It’s a great place to go.”
Currently, HAP admission rates are $3 for children and $4 for adults 18 and older. Wilson’s rates are both one dollar less.
Attendance at the Hays Aquatic Park increased in 2018 with 49,670 patrons compared to 48,238 in 2017. Wilson Pool also saw an increase in attendance to 4,058 patrons in 2018 compared to 3,772 in 2017.
Attendance at Wilson during the 2018 season was the second highest in history.