WINCHESTER — The outdoor pool in Jim Barnett Park raised its daily admission fee by $2 this season, right at the same time Frederick County cut its rates in half for its pools in Sherando and Clearbrook parks.
Winchester Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Miller said it was the first time in four years the city raised its fee for the pool, a move necessitated by higher maintenance and operational costs.
Meanwhile, prices were lowered at the county’s two public aquatics facilities because the Parks and Recreation Commission wants to encourage more people to use the pools for fun and fitness, said Sarah Young, program supervisor with the Frederick County Parks and Recreation Department.
“We’ve been busy,” Young said.
Frederick County dropped its daily pool admission fee from $4 to $2 for everyone age 3 and up. The rate is the same for residents and non-residents alike, so Young could not say how many swimmers are coming from Winchester to take advantage of the more affordable fees.
Winchester’s daily admission rates went from $4 to $6 for young children, seniors and members of the military; $4.50 to $6.50 for students; and $5 to $7 for adults. A family pass for up to four people can be purchased for $16 a day.
Miller said the Olympic-size pool in Jim Barnett Park includes a large tube slide, a wading pool and a mushroom-shaped fountain.
“All those things take extra maintenance,” he said. “We were just looking at our overall cost of operations and it continues to go up.”
Additionally, Miller said, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department is investing in enhanced training for its lifeguards and working to upgrade its existing facilities.
He said a long-term plan to build a large community aquatics center in Jim Barnett Park was not a factor in the department’s decision to raise admission fees.
Miller said it was not the department’s intent to make the pool too expensive for some people to use, but it would have been difficult to properly maintain the facility with the limited amount of revenue raised from the previous admission fees.
“We have an obligation to serve the majority of the public fairly,” he said.
Frederick County also uses money from admission fees to maintain its two pools, so in order to reduce the daily rates, Young said the department came up with alternative ways to raise revenue. For example, residents and non-residents can now rent an entire pool for up to four hours starting at $210, and swimming lessons are provided for a fee.
Miller said Winchester pool users can save money on daily admissions by purchasing memberships or punch passes.
A three-month membership for an adult is $99 for city residents and $117 for non-residents. It includes unlimited use of Jim Barnett Park’s outdoor and indoor pools, fitness room, billiards table, racquetball court and gymnasium, as well as free enrollment in several fitness classes.
Punch passes that allow resident adults to use the outdoor and indoor pools, fitness room, billiards table, racquetball court and gymnasium are $31.50 for 10 visits and $63 for 20 visits. Rates for non-resident adults are $36 for 10 visits and $72 for 20 visits.
For a full list of membership and punch pass rates at Jim Barnett Park, as well as operating hours and additional information about the outdoor pool, visit winchesterva.gov/parks.
Information about the outdoor pools in Frederick County’s Sherando and Clearbrook parks, including facility rental fees, is available at fcva.us/departments/parks-recreation.