***Disclaimer***: The staff involved in researching and preparing this article have made diligent efforts to gather and present comprehensive information related to the Jacqueline A. Cryan Memorial Park Pool. However, it is important to note that due to the pool’s history, including changes in leadership and operational management over time, it is nearly impossible to cover every aspect or detail of its existence.
This article aims to provide readers with an overview of the current situation and challenges faced by the pool based on the available information. It strives to present a fair and accurate representation of the pool’s condition, design limitations, staffing issues, attendance challenges, and the financial requirements for repairs and maintenance.
Readers should be aware that the article may not encompass every nuance, event, or decision regarding the pool, given the complex nature of its history and the limitations inherent in gathering complete information over an extended period. Therefore, it is advisable to consider this article as a snapshot of the pool’s current state and not an exhaustive account of all past or ongoing factors.
As circumstances may evolve or additional information becomes available, the understanding and perception of the pool’s situation may change. It is recommended that readers seek further updates or consult relevant authorities for the most up-to-date and comprehensive information regarding the Jacqueline A. Cryan Memorial Park Pool.
The Jacqueline A. Cryan Memorial Park Pool was constructed in Sealy during the early 2010s as a recreational facility for the community and it was dedicated in May 2012. The pool’s development involved several entities, including MCCM Architects for the architectural design, DBR Engineering for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing aspects, Clark Condon Associates for landscape architecture, Riner Engineering for Geotechnical Engineering and Construction Materials Testing services, and Cox Commercial Construction as the general contractor.
At the time of the pool’s opening, the city officials and staff involved were as follows:
- Mayor: Nick Tirey
- Mayor Pro-Tem/Councilmember, Place 5: Rick Fogle, III
- Councilmember, Place 1: Mark Stolarski
- Councilmember, Place 2: Yvonne Johnson
- Councilmember, Place 3: Larry Koy
- Councilmember, Place 4: Harold H. Hradil
- Councilmember, Place 6: Steve Wilson
- City Manager: Chris Coffman
- Director of Public Works: Larry Mayberry
Synopsis of the Problem(s)
The Pool in Sealy has encountered significant challenges since its construction. The pool, originally intended for shared management with the YMCA, has been primarily operated by the city due to the absence of the anticipated partnership. Over time, various issues have emerged, including the pool’s design limitations, insufficient amenities for diverse user groups, staffing difficulties, low attendance, and the need for costly repairs and equipment replacements. These challenges have prompted concerns about the pool’s long-term viability and the financial burden it places on the city. A more detailed examination will provide deeper insights into these issues and explore potential solutions to ensure the pool’s sustainability and its ability to cater to the community’s recreational needs.
The partnership between the Jacqueline A. Cryan Memorial Park Pool and the YMCA, which was initially planned during the pool’s construction, did not materialize as anticipated. The YMCA was expected to assume responsibility for managing and maintaining the pool facility. However, for reasons that remain unclear, the partnership did not come to fruition.
This lack of partnership with the YMCA began the problem which resulted in the city of Sealy taking on the primary operational and management duties of the pool. The absence of the YMCA’s involvement posed challenges in terms of allocating resources, ensuring proper staffing, and managing the financial aspects of the pool’s operation. The reasons behind the failed partnership could be multifaceted and may involve factors such as changes in organizational priorities, funding constraints, or logistical challenges. Regardless, without the partnership in place, the burden of operating and maintaining the pool fell upon the city, impacting its ability to efficiently manage the facility and was a contributor to the current financial strain.
The design of the Pool has raised concerns due to certain limitations and inadequacies. Primarily conceptualized as a family-oriented pool, its design does not cater to a wide range of potential users or activities. The pool’s irregular, winding shape and limited depth (with a maximum of only 4 feet) restrict its usability for purposes beyond basic family recreation.
The pool’s layout lacks considerations for accommodating swim teams, hosting large float parties, or engaging in other activities that require more expansive or specialized aquatic facilities. The absence of deeper sections also disqualifies the pool from serving as a viable venue for high school or organizational sports events.
The design of the Pool, characterized by its irregular shape and divided sections, necessitates the presence of four lifeguards at all times, contributing to the financial burden and operational challenges faced by the pool.
Unlike a more conventional rectangular pool design, where a single or fewer lifeguards could effectively monitor the entire pool, the segmented layout of the Jacqueline A. Cryan Memorial Park Pool requires additional staffing to ensure adequate coverage and safety for each section. The staffing requirements, mandated by insurance requirements, has placed an ongoing burden on the pool’s operational expenses, requiring the city to allocate resources for the employment and supervision of four lifeguards simultaneously.
The Pool has faced ongoing challenges in terms of staffing, which has contributed to operational difficulties. The city of Sealy has encountered difficulties in securing reliable lifeguards or finding companies that can provide lifeguard services without significant cost implications.
The scarcity of qualified and dependable lifeguards has put a strain on the pool’s operations and maintenance. The city has faced challenges in recruiting and retaining lifeguard staff members, which has resulted in difficulties in meeting the necessary staffing requirements to ensure the safety and supervision of pool visitors as well as insurance requirement mandates.
The issue of staffing difficulties extends beyond hiring individuals to work directly as lifeguards. It also includes the potential expenses associated with contracting external companies to provide lifeguard services. These costs can escalate and become a financial burden for the pool, impacting its overall financial sustainability.
The difficulties in securing reliable staffing solutions have had implications for the pool’s ability to operate smoothly, including reduced hours of operation and limited access to the pool for community members. Addressing these staffing challenges has required innovative approaches so far.
The Pool has been grappling with persistently low attendance, as evidenced by the admission statistics below. On certain days, the pool has recorded as few as four individuals in attendance, resulting in a significant financial challenge. The low attendance figures not only hinder the pool’s ability to cover routine maintenance costs but also make it increasingly difficult to allocate funds for necessary repairs and staffing.
The financial implications of low attendance are twofold. Firstly, routine maintenance costs, such as pool chemicals, facility upkeep, and general operations, are not being covered adequately. This puts a strain on the pool’s budget and hampers its ability to ensure proper maintenance and a satisfactory experience for visitors. Secondly, the lack of sufficient attendance exacerbates the pool’s financial woes when it comes to more expensive repairs and staffing. The pool requires significant investments to address critical infrastructure issues, such as equipment upgrades and necessary renovations. However, with limited revenue generation from low attendance, acquiring funds for these essential repairs becomes even more challenging and falls on the city to make up the difference.
In an effort to address the low attendance issue, the pool has implemented extensive promotional strategies such as “bring a friend for free,” dollar days, and expanded family passes with heavily discounted rates. While these initiatives aim to attract more visitors, they further contribute to the revenue loss that the city must cover. These promotional deals, though designed to increase attendance, place an additional burden on the already strained finances of the pool.
The combination of persistently low attendance, financial strain, and the necessity for extensive promotional efforts highlights the pressing need to find sustainable solutions.
NOTE: Keep in mind that the Family Pool Passes allow up to 5 people for one fee.
So, that is additional revenue that is lost.
Costly Repairs and Equipment Replacement
The Pool is facing an immediate need for costly repairs and equipment replacements, with the estimated total expenses amounting to roughly $200,000. This substantial figure underscores the significant financial burden placed on the pool and the city.
One major area requiring attention is the replacement of sand filters, which alone comes with a price tag of approximately $105,000. These sand filters play a critical role in maintaining water quality and ensuring proper filtration and circulation. The high cost reflects the specialized nature of the equipment and the need for commercial-grade components that meet industry standards.
Additionally, the pool’s infrastructure requires extensive repairs and maintenance. The aging plumbing, electrical systems, and structural elements necessitate an estimated expenditure of thousands of dollars. One of the primary issues that is being faced is that the majority of the equipment cannot be repaired anymore as it has been aged out and discontinued. This necessitates a complete gut and replace to bring the pool back up to usable standards. Additionally, addressing issues such as leaks, structural deficiencies, and general wear and tear on the pool itself is crucial for maintaining a safe and functional pool environment. The specialized nature of the pool infrastructure and equipment, in this case commercial-grade and custom-made solutions, further drives up the costs.
Considering the magnitude of the required investment, securing funding becomes a significant challenge in light of all of the other financial needs and obligations of the city (water wells, sewage, etc.).
Operating At A Significant Loss
The Pool has experienced significant year over year losses, with the financial statements revealing a consistent pattern of revenue falling short of covering operational expenses and maintenance costs. The pool’s financial challenges are underscored by the following numerical values:
In the year 2017/2018, the pool reported a loss of approximately $(44,552.69), indicating a substantial deficit in revenue compared to expenses. The situation worsened in the subsequent year, with the pool recording a loss of $(78,295.72) in 2018/2019, highlighting a further decline in financial performance.
The trend of financial losses continued in 2019/2020, as the pool reported a deficit of $(66,363.79), further straining its financial viability. The year 2020/2021 saw the pool record a loss of $(63,414.18), illustrating the ongoing challenges of revenue generation and cost management.
These year over year losses demonstrate the consistent financial struggles faced by the pool. The deficits indicate that the pool’s revenue has consistently been insufficient to cover operational expenses, routine maintenance costs, and the necessary investments for repairs and equipment replacements.
City of Sealy
Swimming Pool Profit/Loss Report
|Pool Admission Fees||$9,276.51||$12,084.00||$8,692.00||$14,843.00|
|Family Pool Passes||$-||$200.00||$-||$300.00|
|Buildings & Grounds Supplies||$1,779.59||$1,297.39||$1,637.85|
|Buildings & Grounds Repairs/Maintenance||$7,877.17||$16,130.61||$14,925.94|
|Purchases for Resale||$1,421.65||$1,339.82||$2,109.97|
In its current state, the Jacqueline A. Cryan Memorial Park Pool remains closed, with no plans for opening this season. The pool’s condition is dire, as all the bids for the necessary repairs have not yet been received, leaving the facility unfit for public use. With the city already grappling with expenses for maintaining essential infrastructure and the significant costs of digging additional water wells (costing in the millions), the strain on the budget has been intensified. Moreover, the moratorium on development due to limited water taps further diminishes the much-needed revenue that additional development could bring. As the city faces these financial challenges, the justification for investing in extensive pool repairs becomes increasingly difficult, especially when the facility is underutilized and offers little hope of recouping the losses incurred.
The city is currently considering options for the pool’s future, including the possibility of transforming it into a large splash pad play area. This alternative is being explored due to several compelling reasons. Firstly, a splash pad addresses the majority of safety concerns associated with standing water, making it a safer option for visitors. By eliminating the standing water, the risk of drowning incidents is significantly reduced, which will also result in lower insurance costs for the city.
In addition to safety considerations, a splash pad offers greater convenience for parents and guardians. Unlike a traditional pool that requires constant supervision, a splash pad allows parents to drop off younger children who do not require direct supervision. This flexibility provides a more accessible and convenient recreational option for families, accommodating the needs of a broader range of visitors.
Moreover, operating a splash pad requires fewer staff members compared to a pool. With no water areas to monitor, the staffing needs are significantly reduced, leading to potential cost savings for the city. This shift in staffing requirements can help alleviate the challenges associated with finding and retaining lifeguards, addressing one of the ongoing staffing difficulties faced by the pool.
The future of the pool hangs in uncertainty, highlighting the complex decisions and trade-offs that the city must confront. Ultimately, the fate of the pool will require careful deliberation, taking into account the financial realities, community preferences, and the long-term vision for providing accessible and enjoyable recreational amenities to the residents of Sealy.