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Dayton Daily News (Ohio)

The Kroger Aquatic Center at The Heights is scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend. In 2013, the aquatic center had a net loss of $35,158.72 and drew 29,282 people. In its opening season in 2012, the aquatic center generated a profit of $172,863.17 and attracted 86,977 visitors.

HUBER HEIGHTS - The Kroger Aquatic Center at The Heights is looking to rebound in its third season of operation after last year's attendance and revenue numbers declined sharply, which city offi cials said was primarily due to the weather.

The city-owned $7.5 million aquatic center - which is operated by the YMCA - is scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend. It was closed 20 out of the available 96 days in 2013 because of the weather, compared to eight days the year before.

Rates did not increase for this year, and themed activity days will be announced closer to the pool opening, according to Josh Sullenberger, executive director of the YMCA.

"We plan to deliver the same great experience that has been present the past two seasons," Sullenberger said. "With a little help from the weather, we believe another wonderful pool summer will be had by all of our season pass holders and daily guests."

Sullenberger said he hopes close to 50,000 people will visit the pool this summer.

In 2013, the aquatic center located at 8625 Brandt Pike had a net loss of $35,158.72 and drew 29,282 (201 season passes) people. In its opening season in 2012, the aquatic center generated a profit of $172,863.17 and attracted 86,977 visitors, including 475 season passes.

"We expect to be somewhere in the middle," said Scott Falkowski, assistant city manager. "Any pool is dependent on the weather. Even though last year was technically a loss, overall the two years have been gains and we expect big things this year as well."

Savannah Trefz of Vandalia said she visited the aquatic center with her family in the summer of 2012, one week before 3-year-old Tyree Dukes drowned at the facility. She said they haven't been back because of concerns about the prices and staff.

"It was terribly overcrowded, the staff was rude, it was expensive, and above all else, I didn't feel my child was safe there," Trefz said. "Overall, we were very disappointed in the experience."

Shannon Dodge, a Huber Heights resident, purchased season passes for her family the past two years and plans to do the same this year. She said having a pass allows her family to visit the aquatic center just about every day, even if it's only for an hour.

"It's a great place for families to go," Dodge said. "I feel like my kids are safe and they enjoy it. I'm thankful our community developed this family-friendly place to go to in the summer."

Falkowski said there are no major changes planned for the aquatic center this year. Additional landscaping and electrical upgrades will be made to improve the park, he said.

This also is the final year of a three-year contract between the city and Kroger for the aquatic center's naming rights. Kroger pays $30,000 a year for the exclusive naming rights and spends $20,000 a year in advertising.

Kroger and the city have a mutual renewal rights option for another three years when the contract expires in February 2015.

For more information on hours of operation and day/season pass rates, visit www.aquaticcenter


March 30, 2014


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