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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/JASON IVESTER Vince Bucalo (cq), 5, of Bentonville makes his way across floating platforms Monday, May 29, 2017, at the Rogers Aquatic Center. - Photo by Jason Ivester

ROGERS -- Parks Department officials withdrew a request Wednesday to increase entry fees to the Aquatics Center.

Director Jim White took the item off the agenda of the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, saying he decided to delay the conversation after his staff assessed the center's income from entry fees.

White initially wanted commissioners to consider either raising resident entry fees to match nonresident fees or doing an across the board increase.

If rates were increased, the resulting money potentially would go to an addition for the center, such as a wave pool or other water feature, said Ally Williams, parks administrative assistant.

Entry is $12 for residents and $15 for nonresidents.

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Raising resident fees to match would make a drastic income change since the vast majority of visitors are residents. Nonresident fees account for about 8 percent of admissions income, White said. A total of 5 percent of the Aquatics Center entry fee revenue comes from nonresidents.

The center earns roughly $600,000 each year from admissions, $40,000 of which comes from nonresidents, Williams said.

The center has averaged 80,000 visitors annually, said Ben Cline, public relations specialist. A total of 82,273 attended in 2017, with 77,201 in 2016 and 79,767 in 2015.

White said the rate raise would simplify the process for Aquatics Center staff, which is mostly young adults. As it is, staff must request identification to verify residency.

Andrea Brinton, assistant parks director, seemed favorable to a simplified rate structure.

NW News on 11/16/2017

Print Headline: Officials discuss aquatics center fees

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