More Lincolnwood pool passes available for non-village residents
by JASON MEREL
The Lincolnwood Village Board of Trustees at its meeting Feb. 18 voted to increase the number of season passes available for non-village residents to access the Proesel Park Family Aquatic Center, 7055 N. Kostner Ave., after it voted last month to increase pool fees for residents and reduce fees for non-residents.
However, trustees voted keep a long-standing village policy that restricts non-residents from accessing the pool with a daily pass if they are not accompanied by a Lincolnwood resident or non-resident season pass holder, making the pool the only pool in the Midwest and one of only six pools in the United States with such a restriction, according to village staff.
"This is a very uncommon policy," Lincolnwood Public Works director Andrew Letson said. He said that some concerns have been raised that the policy can be seen a "exclusionary" for non-village residents, especially for poorer people, and that as a way to address this the price for non-resident passes has been reduced.
The non-resident season pass cap will increase from 2,100 to 2,300 passes. Non-resident season pass sales have been decreasing since the last time all 2,100 passes sold out in 2017. The village sold 1,934 non-resident season passes in 2018 and 1,648 in 2019. The decision to raise the cap comes after the board voted to reduce 2020 non-resident season pass fees and increase resident fees at their Jan. 21 board meeting.
"I would recommend that we reconsider raising the cap," Trustee Atour Sargon said. "I think if we make too many changes at once, we won’t be able to identify what factors have contributed to either increases or decreases in revenue."
Village staff estimated that the increase in the non-resident season pass cap would allow for anywhere from $30,000 to $33,000 in additional revenue, if the passes sell out.
Non-resident passes go on sale on April 4.
"We don’t want to maximize the number of people going but we want to maximize the number of people who are paying," Trustee Jesal Patel said.
Individual season pass rates for village residents were matched with the 2019 rate of $103. The new fee structure also adds $50 for a second family member and $30 for each additional family member. The new costs will also be $77 for seniors age 55 and older and $127 for a senior couples age 55 and older.
For non-residents, the season pass will be $283 for an individual, $421 for a family of two, $503 for a family of three, and $586 for a family of four, $212 for seniors age 55 and older and $349 for senior couples.
The board also discussed the non-resident daily pass restriction policy.
"I look at the pool as an amenity for the residents of Lincolnwood and not necessarily as a business enterprise," Trustee Ronald Cope said. "It seems to me that the first goal should be to make it an enjoyable experience that gives preference to the residents of Lincolnwood so that when they want to use the pool, it’s available to them."
Trustee Georjean Hlepas-Nickell said about removing the restriction, "We don’t give any advantage to the resident but they’re the ones footing the bill going forward," referring to village taxes that subsidize pool use for residents.
Trustee Craig Klatzco countered, "When you say we need to have something for the residents, we do. The residents pay way less."
Non-resident pass sales account for about 75 percent of the pass revenue, Letson said.
"…and it’s unlimited as well." Patel added. "We used to sell out of non-resident passes. We used the non-resident fee as a bellwether for non-resident prices. Keep raising it until we sell out or we don’t sell out. I didn’t realize we dropped off so precipitously in those 2 years."