Pool will hike lap lane fees, limit spaces

Officials say lap lane rates due for increase as COVID-19 pandemic keeps cap on capacity

Some Hinsdale Community Pool fees are going up as the village adjusts to last year's minimum wage increase and also looks to keep its pricing commensurate with other area swim facilities.

At Monday's parks and recreation commission meeting, commissioners approved increasing the hourly lap rental rate from $15 to $18 for resident groups and from $26 to $28 for nonresident groups for the 2021 season. A group must be comprised of at least 75 percent Hinsdale residents to qualify for the resident rate.

Heather Bereckis, superintendent of parks and recreation, had recommended the hike as one that was financially prudent for the village but not harmful to its competitive standing in the marketplace.

"We have not changed any of our pool fees since 2014," Bereckis reported. "We did an evaluation of the lap lane rates that other local pools charge and found that we're undercharging.

"We wanted to make sure that we're getting a fair rate with what we're doing," she added.

Bereckis indicated that the new rates are still lower than other pools but that she didn't want the increase to be too dramatic.

"I just don't want to out-price us and I don't want to make the jump too high too quickly," Bereckis remarked. "I think for at least a couple of years, these would be good rates."

Bereckis said demand was high last year since many area pools remained closed because of the pandemic. She listed off a number of parties interested in renting lanes this season, including groups from Elmhurst, Downers Grove, Lyons Township and an underwater hockey league.

"So we have all of these renters looking for lap lane space," Bereckis said. "There's a chance we may not be able to accommodate all of them."

Commission Chair Alice Waverley asked Bereckis if she expected the high demand for lap lane space to continue.

"I anticipate we will for a while because we're a 50-meter outdoor pool, and people want to be outdoors," she said. "We know that people are going to pay it, and we're still getting a number of requests for spaces. We will have all of our lap lanes mostly rented out for the summer again."

Waverley said she was fine with the increases "if you've reached out the clubs and people are comfortable with that, and we're aligned with what our competition out there is."

Bereckis also gave an update on regular pool visits, noting that a reservation system will be in place again this summer in order to conduct contact tracing in the event of a positive COVID-19 case connected to the pool. This year, however, bookings can be made online instead of only by phone.

"You will basically sign up for a pool reservation the same way you sign up for any other activity with us right now," she said.

The pool is allowed to be at 25 percent capacity under current guidelines, which is about 250 people, Bereckis related, and each time block would have 150 spaces.

"We normally don't exceed that, so we don't see (lack of spaces) being a huge issue," Bereckis said.

Swim classes and other activities also will be limited.

"We only doing programming for part of the summer this year, just like a condensed version of the programming we used to do," she said.

The pool is scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend. Memberships will go on sale May 1, with early-bird pricing through May 28 and then regular rates after that.