Billings Parks and Recreation saw 40% decline in pool revenue in June

BILLINGS — The month of June was the third wettest on record for the city of Billings, affecting everything from pool attendance to park maintenance.

Rose Park Pool may have been packed with people Wednesday, but that wasn’t the case in June.

“It’s been a little tough. During the month of June, we had all that weather and that certainly hurt our revenue, hurt our attendance,” said Dawn-Marie Kaufman, the city’s aquatics director, on Wednesday.

Billings received over six inches of rain in June, with 20 days of precipitation. That meant less people at the pools.

“We saw about a 39 to 40% reduction in attendance, and it’s strictly weather related,” said Kory Thomson, the recreation superintendent for Billings Parks and Recreation.

A 40% reduction in attendance meant a 40% reduction in revenue for the city, something that was also felt by employees at the pools.

Alina Hauter/MTN News

“With all the rain and everything, we weren’t able to do anything. I know a lot of us guards, a lot of us are lucky to be in high school and have parents support us. But we have some, and even our pool managers that do some of this for a living and need the money for it,” said Billings lifeguard Christopher Piccioni.

Lifeguards like Piccioni lost nearly a month’s worth of wages because the pools were closed. Some found other jobs. It was a downer for them and general pool goers like Ali Tezak and her 10-year-old son.

“He has been asking from the day went out, can we go to Rose Park, can we go to Rose Park, can we go to Rose Park,” said Tezak.

The Tezaks couldn’t come in June, but they’re making up for it now, as is swimmer Daisy Kind.

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Alina Hauter/MTN News

Daisy Kind

“It was a bummer, but I’m just glad we’re making up for it now, ‘cuz I love the pool,” Kind said.

Though the rain may have dampened plans for pool goers, there is a silver lining for the city. All that rain meant they didn’t need to water.

“Normally we try to get all of our irrigation systems up and running before the end of May. We just know that’s what we need to do. We had systems that we hadn’t turn on yet until the middle of June,” said the director of Billings Parks and Recreation, Mike Pigg.

Now that the weather has turned around, everyone hopes park attendance will too.

“Take advantage of being able to come out with the weather being good. It’s a hot summer so far, so yay,” Tezak said.

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