NARRAGANSETT- The Recreation Advisory Board reviewed the 2013 Narragansett Town Beach Season during a meeting on Monday.
Director of Parks and Recreation Steve Wright discussed both the membership and merchandise revenue for the 2013 beach season and stated that he was very pleased with the results despite the poor weather.
The total beach revenue for the Narragansett Town Beach season 2013 is more than $1.9 million, according to Wright. He also stated that this is a significant increase from the beach season 2012 revenue of $1.8 million.
Wright said that although he was pleased with the revenue, the number one priority of the beach staff this summer was to satisfy the customers.
“It wasn’t just about the revenue, every single year a lot of people, including myself, put a lot of effort into this,” said Wright. “It is not always about the revenue, it is about the whole package. Our number one priority is trying to satisfy the customers down there and people say it is only the tourists but it is also the residents. When we have concerns or complaints from residents we always try to address them.”
Board member Maria Rocchio stated that she attended the beach frequently this summer and that she noticed the customer service and positive changes that Wright referred to.
“I will say as a person who goes to the beach a lot, this season was much more pleasant and I didn’t feel like we were on top of each other, to me it was much more enjoyable,” said Rocchio.
Wright compared the town beach revenue to the Rhode Island State Beaches revenue by stating that the state beaches had a decrease from the previous season.
“They made a total of $3 million, they take that money in from parking only, they do not charge to walk on to the beach. They are a state beach, it functions differently from a town beach, so they are down about a $150,000,” said Wright. “I mean everyone knows that it wasn’t a very good beach year, for the weather aspect of it. So that did impact all of the beaches “
Board member Roxann Pereira said that she also attends the beach and believes that there is still an issue with out of state visitors at the beach.
“I still have an issue with a lot of out of state people sharing lockers. I just feel that Narragansett is a town beach with residents,” said Pereira. “Somehow I feel that the parking should be related to the property taxes and that the car should be registered to Rhode Island.”
Wright stated that overall he felt that they were pleased with the outcome of the season and they have emailed surveys to beach members to receive the feedback of each customer.
As a way to respond to feedback from the previous years, Wright said that the north and south beach pavilion restrooms on the town beach will be open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the month of September. Starting Oct. 1, only the restrooms in the south pavilion will be open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The board also discussed the decision of the Narragansett Town Council to approve the request from the Parks and Recreation Department to close the pool at the Clarke Road Camp during the town council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 3.
Wright said that the parks department requested to close the pool in order to eliminate potential public liability with the existing structure. The town operated the pool from 2005 through 2012 with maintenance and improvements costing $289,416 over the seven year period.
He also stated that in 2011, the underground water service lines to the pool were leaking extensively which forced the town to fill the pool on a continuous daily basis to oddest the extensive loss of water from the lines. In 2012, it was decided that due to the age of the pool it was not ADA accessible.
Rocchio said that as a mother and resident in Narragansett in Narragansett she does not support the closing of the pool.
“I do not support this decision to close the pool,” said Rocchio. “As a mother it was nice to have something free to do with the kids and they love the pool even when we go to Disney world the only thing they want to do is go straight to the pool. “
Wright agreed with Rocchio that the pool was a great source of entertainment for the residents, but the current status of the pool put their safety in danger.
“I completely agree I think it was great to have the pool for the children and maybe in the future we can have another one but the amount of money the town put into the pool and the liability was just too great,” said Wright.