Swim and Racquet Club to close to public?

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The Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club hasn’t had many members this past year, and it may soon have none at all: The School Board is considering shutting to property to the public and keeping it open only for school swim teams. That would cost just $30,000 a year, a fraction of what the district spends on the facility now.

The board is in talks with the Volusia Flagler YMCA about a private-public partnership what would have the YMCA run the facility, but keeping it open until a possible agreement is reached, school district Chief Financial Officer Tom Tant said at a July 21 School Board workshop, “is not a good financial decision.”

The property has been running at a deficit for years, Tant said, but it’s been getting worse. This past year, Tant said, the club’s revenues were $137,000 and its expenditures were about $282,700: a deficit of $145,700. The previous year, the deficit was about $70,000.

“The memberships have declined,” Tant said. “They were declining last year; they’ve declined even further.”
Summer memberships at the club run through Sept. 7. After that date, Tant said, open memberships would total $1,302. There are 19 open pool memberships, of which 13 expire in September, four in October and two in December; 13 gym memberships, of which four expire in September, and nine in October; one gym and tennis membership that ends in December; and just one tennis membership. The Flagler County SyncroBelles, a youth synchronized swimming team, also uses the pool.

If the district closes the pool Sept. 7, as Tant suggested, it would refund the memberships that would have continued after that date, then “realign the facility to service our K-12 student populations — and what that means is we use the facility for our high school swim teams, and maybe we do a rental of the facilities for the SynchroBelles and we close the facility for public use, because public use is very small at this time.”

Doing that would also mean the district could spend money earmarked for K-12 education for the facility, Tant said.

The district would also encourage the Matanzas High School swim team, which practices at the city of Palm Coast’s Frieda Zamba Pool instead of the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club pool, to switch to the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club pool so that both high schools practice at the same location. The Matanzas team uses the Frieda Zamba Pool at no cost, city spokeswoman Cindi Lane said.

The $30,000 required to keep the facility open for the swim teams would cover the cost of heating the pool, and minimal maintenance. “There’s going to be no staff there,” Tant said. “We will have a custodian come in periodically, and we will maintain the grounds, but that’s about it, except for the swim teams when they come in, and they’re going to unlock the gate.”

If the SynchroBelles rented the facility, that would also reduce the district’s $30,000-a-year cost, he said.
The School Board will discuss plans for facility at a future board meeting.



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