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Chesterfield parks department seeks funding, changes in pool hours

The Chesterfield Parks, Recreation and Arts Department is planning to retain an independent contractor to assist in acquiring sponsorships on a contingency basis.

Due to a decline in the city’s half-cent sales tax revenue, the department is exploring other options for funding, Tom McCarthy, department director, said.

An independent salesperson would acquire the sponsorships and be compensated based on the dollar value, he said. That person would be paid only after the funding is received at a rate of 15% for the first $100,000 and 20%for sponsorship dollars exceeding $100,000.

The Parks, Recreation and Arts Committee recommended approval of the one-year contract and the City Council followed suit at its meeting Jan. 4. Only council member Michelle Ohley (Ward 4) voted against it, saying, “I don’t have any faith in it even happening this year because of the COVID situation.”

The council also approved a grant application in the amount of $6,400, which would partially fund a contract for preliminary planning for the recently acquired 8 acres adjacent to Central Park.

A planning grant would fund efforts to solicit public input and develop conceptual programs, diagrams and recommended uses of the property, McCarthy said. The overall cost of the planning process is estimated to be $9,000 to $10,000.

In addition, the council approved operational changes to the Chesterfield Family Aquatic Center for the 2021 season, including hours of operation once school starts in the fall. McCarthy noted that there is a shortage of lifeguards as students return to school in the fall. He recommended that the pool hours be amended during the last two weeks of the season to remain open only on Fridays from 4-7 p.m. with regular hours on Saturday and Sunday.

In addition, McCarthy said the daily admission rate would be increased by $1, due to the increased costs associated with minimum wage. Season pass costs will not be impacted.

Council member Ben Keathley (Ward 2) said that although he would be grateful to have a pool season at all this year, if the season starts late, he doesn’t want to see restrictions placed on the end of the season as well.

Both Keathley and council member Tom DeCampi (Ward 4) voted against the recommended changes.

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