Want an indoor city pool?
More splash parks or pads?
Lexington Parks and Recreation wants to hear what residents have to say about the city's pools and aquatics program.
As part of a $150,000 aquatics master plan, city pool enthusiasts are being asked to fill out an online survey or a paper survey at one of the city's seven outdoor public pools.
In addition to the survey, there will be several town hall meetings in coming weeks to gather input to help guide the city's aquatics program in coming years, said Brian Rogers, deputy director of Lexington Parks and Recreation.
"We are interested in gaining the public's insight into the future of the aquatics program— from a new outdoor recreation facility, a new indoor facility or renovating an existing pool," Rogers said.
The city hasn't built a new pool in nearly 30 years. The last major renovation was at Tates Creek Aquatics center in the early 2000s. The city has had to shutter several, smaller, neighborhood pools in recent years — a move necessitated by declining revenues and poor attendance.
Although the pools have been included in several master park plans over the years, Rogers said the last aquatics master plan was completed in 1999.
The survey asks respondents what's needed at the pools — such as more shade, a longer swim season or better rest rooms and changing facilities. The survey also asks what type of aquatics facilities people want from indoor pools, outdoor water parks, indoor warm water pools for exercise to splash pads in areas where there are no pools.
Attendance at the city's pools has declined over the past several years. In 2011, the city's pools had 200,000 visitors. In 2014, that number dropped to 140,000.
Last year was a wet summer, which affected attendance, Rogers said.
Still, not as many people are using the city's pools as they once did. The survey also asks if people go elsewhere to swim — from private clubs to public facilities in surrounding counties.
"We want to make sure that people don't have to leave the county to meet their aquatics needs," Rogers said.
Although the city charges admission for its pools and for swim lessons, those fees and other revenue pay less than half of what it costs the city to run its aquatics program, Rogers said. The annual pool budget is about $1.3 million but the aquatics program generates between $500,000 to $600,000 in revenue each year.
The online survey will be available until Labor Day.
A preliminary report of the recommendations of the aquatics plan will likely be available sometime in late fall.