February 2010 - Parks & Recreation - 45

with the economy
taking a dive, aquatics
managers find
valuable
revenue with
splash parks
By Rachel Roberts

W

ith a town of only 50,000 residents,
Cuyahoga Falls in Ohio seems an
unlikely location for not one, but two

enormous aquatics facilities. With the town's indoor Natatorium, it gives residents three pools, a
140-foot water slide, a lazy river, and spray features. If citizens want to head outdoors, the Water
Works Aquatic Center offers twin waterfalls, lap
pool, and a variety of water slides for both the adventurous and less daring participants.

But what most aquatics managers would consider amazing for
this small town, is not the facilities themselves, but that both aquatics centers are 100 percent self-sufficient. In fact, they are actually turning a profit.
" Everybody I talk to says that if you are making 70 percent of
your operating budget, then you are good, " explains Assistant Superintendent Ed Stewart. " I'd say at 100 percent, we're doing great. "
Stewart also oversees six community pools that he says aren't
nearly as popular as the Natatorium or Water Works. He says young
families make up a majority of his community, and they want more
than just a traditional swimming pool and are willing to pay for it.
" [Water Works] added another f lavor for the community, "
Stewart says. " It is attractive to families and as a whole that is who
we cater to. "
Terri Smith, who has been in the aquatics industry for more
than 20 years and currently works for Water Design in Utah,
agrees with Stewart. " Times have changed, " she says. " Hybrids,
with a variety of water features, are gaining market share. Those
agencies that have flat-water pools are looking to add components
like slides, splash pads, and such. "

	

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February 2010

Parks & Recreation	 43



February 2010 - Parks & Recreation

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