News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
FRIDAY, JULY 29, 2005


Make every day Tuesday at Point Mallard Park

In spite of an unusually rainy summer, Point Mallard Aquatic Center is setting attendance and revenue records.

There are many reasons for the success, not the least of which are a new attraction and unusually warm weather.

John Marusak, supervisor of marketing, reports that June attendance was 31,357, a nearly 35 percent increase compared to June 2004.

As a result, revenue last month was $470,963, an increase of more than 37 percent compared to June 2004.

Mr. Marusak attributes the recent success to the new Pro Bowl attraction, increased advertising and a promotion that allows admission for half price every Tuesday.

On the two most recent Tuesdays, he said, the park drew 4,260 and 3,810 swimmers — two of the highest single-day attendance figures in recent memory. Those numbers compare favorably to two recent Saturdays when 1,100 and 2,400 swimmers sought admission.

Obviously, the half-price admission on Tuesdays is an attractive and highly successful marketing tool.

We're not advocating an across-the-board reduction in admission by half, but perhaps officials should closely study the park's overall pricing to determine if a reduction would result in enough additional swimmers to mean an overall increase in revenue.

Even if the park would break even from such a discount, more swimmers would be enjoying the facilities.

That and not revenue generation is the primary purpose of publicly owned recreational facilities.

The success at the aquatic center should temper, at least for now, any foolish talk about privatizing the park.

Mr. Marusak might consider in his marketing plan establishing a night just for young adults who have fond memories of Point Mallard as youths and need only a good excuse to get back into the water.

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