May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 47

Special features can help attract new
and diverse groups of people to pools
and aquatics facilities.
different age groups or sports, and
can allow these programs to operate
earlier in the afternoon or evening.
For families that often travel
quite a distance to a facility, this
can positively impact afternoon/
evening family life. Such a feature
also can allow the facility to host
more competitions, which can bring
additional revenue-generating opportunities.
Beach entries and ADA
ramps provide gentle access into
the water that benefits people of all
ages and stages of life. Accessible facilities
are welcoming to all and can
be the difference between someone
choosing one facility over another.
In addition to ADA-access benefits,
beach entries are friendly to less
experienced swimmers, parent and
child swim lessons, toddlers, and
those wanting to wade rather than
swim. They support a large variety
of users and have the added bonus
of being fairly easy to lifeguard.
Anna Slocum from City of Merriam,
Kansas,
highlights the inclusive
and accessible features at
the Merriam Community Center's
pools. Notably, the city's facility
stands out in the area for offering
both indoor and outdoor aquatics
options in the almost 16,000 square
feet of aquatics space. Indoors, its
amenities cater to diverse needs
and interests. The activity pool is
divided thoughtfully into zones,
featuring a zero-depth area with
water sprays and a water table, a
current channel with a " shower
curtain " and depth charge, and a
slide-plunge area with options for
families
and thrill-seekers
Additionally,
alike.
there's an activity
zone tailored for swim lessons and
open swim, complete with seating
and four indoor lap lanes equipped
with basketball hoops.
Moreover, they provide a smaller
warm-water therapy pool for those
requiring specialized care. Outdoors,
the single body of water connects
seamlessly with a walkway to the
zero-depth shallow-water area, promoting
inclusivity and easy access.
Unique features, such as benches for
seating and interactive water features,
like the bucket spill mix, anthem
bloom and spray rocks, enhance the
experience for all visitors. The laplane
section boasts additional attractions,
like a zip line, two one-meter
dive boards and eight starting blocks,
catering to a wide range of interests
and abilities. Furthermore, its membership
structure fosters accessibility
by offering a single membership for
both indoor and outdoor facilities.
This two-in-one approach eliminates
the need for separate memberships
to access different areas of the community
center, making it more convenient
and cost effective for patrons.
Additionally, the city provides flexible
membership options, including
monthly bank drafts, annual payments
or summer memberships, ensuring
accessibility to all members of
the community.
When pondering a special feature,
weigh the pros and cons before
making the capital investment.
Talk to other operators, shop manufacturers
to get quotes, and poll
interest from the community. Plan
the pricing structure, staffing requirements
and operating hours
for a full picture of the impact a
special feature can bring. With the
variety of features available in the
industry, there is no single solution
that will work for every facility.
Careful planning, attention to budget,
communication with staff and
customers, and an understanding
of under-resourced programs in the
community can result in maximizing
the impact of any new feature.
SEE ALSO: The Challenge of Renovating
Historic Aquatic Facilities, Robin
Steinshnider and David Mills, Parks &
Recreation, September 2017, Vol. 47,
Iss. 9, tinyurl.com/4zd7pcxr.
Michelle Gable, AFO, CPO, is Associate at Aquatic Design
Group, Inc. (mgable@aquaticdesigngroup.com).
PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G | MAY 2 0 2 4 | Parks & Recreation
47
PHOTO COURTESY OF LAWRENCE ANDERSON PHOTOGRAPHY
http://tinyurl.com/4zd7pcxr

May 2024 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of May 2024 - Parks & Recreation

May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 1
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May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
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