Staffing shortage at Rifle Metro Pool didn’t hamper projected revenue |

Staffing shortage at Rifle Metro Pool didn’t hamper projected revenue

Kids slide down a slide at the Rifle Metro Pool in June.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

Though the Rifle Parks and Recreation Department filled just 78 of 110 seasonal positions this past season, the municipal pool exceeded preliminary projections in revenue made from admissions and concessions, a city official said.

Parks and Recreation Director Austin Rickstrew told Rifle City Council on Oct. 6 that the Rifle Metro Pool, an $8 million facility that replaced the old Art Dague Pool in 2020, consistently reached its 150-person capacity in 2021.

“From the 12 to 5 (p.m.) time frame, we were sold out almost every day,” he said.

Rickstrew said earlier projected revenue from admissions was $90,000, but the city ended up shattering that by $60,000, collecting $149,437 in total revenue.

For concessions, a projected $20,000 in revenue turned out to be $42,140 to end the season, Rickstrew said.

A minimal shortfall came via swim lessons. This year the city projected $45,000 in revenue from swim lessons. In total, it accrued $44,907 in revenue.

Rickstrew said the city provided swim lessons to 1,113 kids. In addition, 69.8% of the 33,500 open swim tickets available were used throughout the three months the pool was open this year.

But apart from the gains this past season comes the problem of staffing. This year, the city had to pay $11,000 in overtime because of the shortage.

Rickstrew said the city had to close certain parts of the pool off and on throughout the season due to staffing shortages.

“We probably had 15 staff members — just lifeguards — that were working double shifts,” Rickstrew said.

To staff the pool, the city pulls from high schools between Parachute, Rifle and New Castle. But this past year saw sports schedules stretch far into the summer season.

“One of the big problems this year was that all of the high school sports went all the way till the end of June,” council member Clint Hostettler said. “So they couldn’t get away from their sports schedules to work.”

Rickstrew said he’s been working with the city’s human resources department to recruit employees for next season.

“We’re coming to the end of the year, so we’re looking to start posting those positions in January,” he said.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

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