By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — City leaders are considering adding eight “free swim” days in response to one resident’s suggestion of providing free swimming at the city’s three outdoor pools.
Phil Salamone approached the city’s park and recreation committee in June with the request, which he outlined in a guest column for Wausau Pilot and Review. The committee directed city staff to present ideas for free or reduced admission, possibly with donations, on specified days for the remainder of the season as a way to track attendance, incidence and accident reports, the impact on staffing and chemicals and other factors.
Pool admission is currently set at $3 for adults and $2 for youth age 17 and younger and for seniors age 60 and older. Infants are admitted for free. Admission drops to $1.50 for adults and $1 for youth and seniors after 6 p.m. All pools currently offer free swim from 6 p.m. to 7:50 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Staffers are proposing rotating free Sunday swims that would be held July 8 and July 29 at Kaiser Pool, July 15 and Aug. 5 at Memorial Pool, and July 22 at Schulenburg Pool. A “half way free day” celebrating the halfway point of the summer swimming season would be held Wed., July 11 and “Last Friday Free Days” would be held Aug. 10 at Memorial and Schulenburg Pools, and on Aug. 17 at Kaiser.
The free swim dates could be sponsored by local businesses interested in offsetting the cost incurred, according to city documents.
Salamone’s proposal drew dozens of comments on social media. In his guest column, Salamone argued that eliminating pool fees would benefit both children and adults and make the most of the city’s three pools, which have each gone through massive renovations in recent years. Critics say free access could present operational obstacles and a financial burden for taxpayers.
The park and recreation committee will review the proposal at a meeting at 4:30 p.m. Monday, July 2 at City Hall.
- Schulenberg Pool: 1533 Summit Drive
- Kaiser Pool: 900 E. Bridge St. next to Thom Field
- Memorial Pool: 505 Memorial Park Road