With JCPRD partnership gone, Roeland Park looks to private company for pool management services

The Roeland Park pool.

The Roeland Park City Council is preparing for changes to management of its pool operations following the termination of the long-standing joint operating agreement between the city and Johnson County Park and Recreation District.

The city is looking to Midwest Pool Management to pick up some of the duties handled under the previous agreement with JCPRD. The city and JCPRD held a ceremony this summer marking the city’s assumption of ownership of the facility.

City Administrator Keith Moody said while the agreement largely remained the same as the city’s agreement with JCPRD from the 2019 season, revisions were made due to the switch from a government agency to a private entity. The following updates were made in the agreement with Midwest Pool Management:

  • An update to the operations plan was made, but the season’s length, hours of operation and programs remain unchanged from 2019.
  • A budget update reflects Midwest Pool Management’s management fee, anticipated capital investments for 2020, and anticipated operating and programming costs.
  • An update to the example invoice now follows Midwest Pool Management’s invoice format.
  • Additionally, inventory will be updated with the end of 2019 season. Pool rules will remain unchanged from 2019.

Projections for the 2020 season show total operating subsidy from the city’s general fund will be $65,000 less than the 2019 season due to the lower management and operating fees of Midwest Pool Management. Salaries are expected to amount to $2,500 more than was paid during the 2019 season.

Moody said the change will not affect programming at the pool, but the city will be more involved in the marketing of said programming.

The company also manages Swope Park pool, Gillham Park pool and several neighborhood pools, Kansas City Area Executive Director Jimmy Gibbs said. Councilmember Jim Kelly said the city competes with several different small pools in the area, and asked whether or not the company has experience with managing “small pools in a big pond.”

“While we are not necessarily in that vein on this side [of Kansas City], I was in parks and recreation for 23 years,” Gibbs said. “I understand that there’s got to be something that draws folks here.”

Councilmembers voted to move the agreement to the council’s consent agenda.

In addition to a change in management, the city council considered applying for a state recreational grant to help fund pool improvements. Language in the grant specifies it must be used for outdoor recreation, and councilmembers posed concerns as to whether or not putting the dome on the pool would affect the outdoor requirement. Councilmembers voted to pursue the grant application for an unspecified area in Roeland Park, and to have city staff reach out for more information about the grant prior to the city applying for it.