Major changes outlined in parks report

Closing Bethlehem golf course among options in budget review

The Elm Avenue Pool season could be shortened for cost savings measures.

The Elm Avenue Pool season could be shortened for cost savings measures.

— Suggested options to save money at the Elm Avenue Park pool include raising user fees for children between 2 and 4 years old and for seniors, which could increase revenue by up to $18,000. Another suggestion was to shorten the season by one week at the end of the year. This would save between $6,600 and $9,000.

“Another option, which is a little more controversial, is to allow non-residents access to the pool,” said Gavilik.

Non-residents can only visit the pool if accompanied by a town resident. It was not known how much revenue could be realized by opening up pool access.

“There is an interest there,” said Lanahan. “When the Thatcher Park Pool closed a while ago we had an influx of people call about using our pool, so those people were looking for places to go. Plus people in the RCS community and City of Albany that may not have the facilities we have.”

Concerning the golf course, Lanahan said attendance has been on the decline over the past three years and the course has been operating at a loss. In 2008, the town took over Colonial Acres Golf Course and entered into a five-year agreement with the Open Land Conservancy to keep it open. The lease will expire in August and for the first time the town has the option to close the facility, saving an estimated $20,000.

Lanahan said there is a correlation between decreased attendance at Colonial Acres and the opening of the private Hidden Meadows course several years ago. Both courses offer par three play, but Hidden Meadows has 18 holes and Colonial Acres has nine.

“We probably draw similar clientele,” Lanahan said.

Instead of closing the course, the town could increase rates, but it is unknown how much would be made by doing so and the course needs capital improvements like new sewer lines and a new clubhouse.

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