Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Port Richey rethinking upgrades to recreation center

NEW PORT RICHEY — With dismal financial returns on the city's Recreation and Aquatic Center, City Council members are poised to pull the plug on an expansion and more equipment for the facility.

Long dubbed the "Jewel of the City," the Van Buren Street complex has enhanced life in New Port Richey, but operating it has been a financial drain, City Council members agreed at a workshop Tuesday on the status of the center.

In May, the center's gymnasium, workout room, and pools will have been open for four years, but each year the facility has lost money. With the projection for 2011 no different, council members plan to scrap $360,000 in planned expansions and upgrades, including $200,000 for a fitness center expansion, $100,000 for new fitness equipment and $60,000 for a tennis wall.

Council members are also considering cutting the center's hours to save money.

Since the center opened in 2007, the city has spent far more operating it than it has pulled in, a study by New Port Richey's Parks and Recreation Department says.

In 2007, the center made $320,210, but operations cost $789,609. Last year the center pulled in $387,751, but operating costs topped $1.1 million. In 2011, projections are for the center's revenue to be $451,050, while the costs are expected to surpass $1.2 million.

The center had 220,300 visits in 2010. But three jobs have been cut at the facility since it opened. And although it remains open seven days a week, hours of operation have dropped from 94 to 91 hours a week, Parks and Recreation Director Elaine Smith told council members.

"I think some tough decisions are going to confront this council," Mayor Scott McPherson said of the facility's financial woes.

McPherson said New Port Richey has met its goal in constructing the center with a mission at the outset of enhancing quality of life for its citizens, but pushed for a change in "philosophy" within the city in order to begin getting a financial return.

"We need to start looking at it as a return on our investment," he said.

Council member Ginny Miller agreed the expansion funding should be tabled.

"Do we need to make it work a little better? Absolutely," Miller said.

Deputy Mayor Rob Marlowe said the city should also look at what other recreation centers and gyms in the area are charging for memberships to make sure the city is collecting enough from its users outside the city.

There will also be an effort to inform the public on what the center has to offer.

The city plans to spend $10,000 on a marketing study to determine how to best advertise the facility.

"We need to put forward more of an effort to get the word out," McPherson said in an interview. "So I was very happy to see the funding for a marketing study."

>>By the numbers

$387,751



Revenue collected last year by the New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center

$1.1MOperating costs last year at the complex

$10,000Amount the city plans to spend on a marketing study to better promote the facility

New Port Richey rethinking upgrades to recreation center 02/17/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 17, 2011 8:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida reverses decision to shield information from nursing home inspection reports

    Health

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida regulators decided Friday they will abandon the use of software that allowed them to heavily redact key words from nursing home inspection reports posted online, choosing instead to link to the more complete reports available on a federal site.

    Officials for the state Agency for Health Care Administration said Friday they will no longer use software that allowed them to heavily redact key words from nursing home inspection reports posted online. The agency has been under increased scrutiny since Sept. 13, when eight residents of The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, pictured here, died after power was lost to an air-conditioning system during Hurricane Irma. Two more residents died this week. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
  2. Trump's travel ban to be replaced by restrictions tailored to certain countries

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries is set to be replaced as soon as this weekend with more targeted restrictions on visits to the United States that would vary by country, officials familiar with the plans told the New York Times on Friday.

  3. Maria: Clearwater Coast Guard plane aids rescue near Puerto Rico

    Military

    Eight minutes. That's how long it took the Petty Officer 3rd Class Darryn Manley of the Coast Guard said it took him to spot the boat that capsized off a Puerto Rican island on Thursday.

  4. Mom of girl who died looking for candy seeks to keep husband away

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Eight days after her 4-year-old daughter died in the care of paternal grandparents, pregnant Lizette Hernandez sat in a Hillsborough County courthouse Friday, attempting to seek full-time custody of her 19-month-old son.

    Lizette Hernandez, 22, completes paperwork Friday for a motion for protection from domestic violence against her husband, Shane Zoller. Their daughter, Yanelly, 4, died in a reported gun accident at the home of Zoller's parents Sept. 14. She alleges that her husband hit her and caused her to fall on a grave marker at their daughter's funeral Thursday in a tussle over their remaining 1-year-old son. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]