As part of the fallout from the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the Atchison City Commissioners voted unanimously on Monday to keep Lions Pool closed for the entire 2020 season.
The pool usually opens the weekend of Memorial Day and stays open through August. City leaders pointed to the need for a shortened season, the uncertainty of opening at all depending on social distancing standards, and the financial impact of the pool as the main reasons for keeping it closed this year.
“Sales tax revenues are expected to take a major hit,” City Manager Becky Berger said. “There are estimates that we could see anywhere from 30 to 50 percent reduction in sales taxes through much of 2020.”
The 12th case of Covid-19 in Atchison County was confirmed Monday, the same day that commissioners voted during their regular meeting to cancel the pool season. Berger presented to commissioners that the earliest the pool could possibly open under the current countywide restriction plan would be mid- or late-June. Even that, though is in doubt as county officials could delay the lifting of restrictions depending on how the Covid-19 Virus spreads locally.
The pool had an operating deficit of $89,326 in 2019 – which was an improvement over 2018, when the venue lost $97,209. Berger said the prospect of losing nearly $100,000 in a time when revenues are expected to take such a significant hit would have been irresponsible.
“We need to make decisions that ensure that we can keep people employed and provide the other essential services city residents rely on,” Berger said.