Fairmont's aquatic park is in the news this week, as an annual report on the facility was presented to the City Council.
The park saw about 4,000 more visitors than last summer, as the hot, dry weather boosted attendance.
Revenue for 2012 was $144,111. Expenses were $311,373. That's a deficit of $167,000, although city officials note that the water park is a service to the public, not a for-profit entity.
Current costs to visit the water park are $4 for daily admission, or $130 for a family membership. We have to agree that the water park is not likely to ever break even, but these rates have not changed for quite a while. We think they should. A $5 admission charge is not too much to ask. In fact, it's still a bargain. The family membership is an even better deal, especially for a larger family. The rate should go up, to $140 or $150. These reasonable rate hikes could trim $25,000 to $30,000 off the deficit.
We also agree with council members who see an advantage in attracting more out-of-town swimmers from around the region. This past summer, groups from Adrian, Albert Lea and Forest City, Iowa, were among the guests. The city should consider simple, cost-effective ways to reach out to more kids and families in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota.
We do believe the water park is a nice amenity in town, and that those who visit the park also may spend money at local restaurants or shops. This should be some salve for the park's annual deficit.