WOODLAND, Colo. - The community is furious over how much it will cost their families to buy an annual pass at the new aquatic center in Woodland Park.
The aquatic center has been in the works for more than two decades. Now, it is set to open to the public at the end of October. For many families, they were looking forward to the new center, until they saw how much it was going to cost. "Absolute outrage and shock," says Todd Wiseman and his family.
An annual pass for a family of four will cost $888, but for each additional family member it would cost an additional $160 per person. With the Wiseman family having seven children, they would have to pay almost $2,000. Wiseman says, "I thought it would be between $500 and $600 and when I did the math, I'm like, $1,600? That's totally unaffordable."
Wiseman says large families in Woodland Park cannot afford to spend more than $1,000. They feel large families are being discriminated against. He says, "A lot of people think it is unaffordable, especially families. Many people feel families have particularly been singled out."
David Buttery, the city manager for Woodland Park, says he has heard the same argument from smaller families. "I've also heard it from smaller families, that if we give a great discount to those larger families it's almost discriminating against the smaller families," says Buttery.
The cost for the annual pass is comparable with other nearby aquatic centers like Manitou Springs.
After hearing concerns, on Monday, the city did change their prices for families with more than two kids. Now for families wanting to buy an annual pass, the fifth member will have to pay $100 and for any other family member after that, they will pay $50. So for the Wiseman family, in total, instead of paying $1,688 they will pay $1,088. That is cheaper than traveling to Manitou Springs for their aquatic center.
However, the cost is not the only problem families have with the new facility. Special discounts are given not only to seniors and children, but to city board members, elected officials and school teachers.
Todd Wiseman says he will speak at the city council meeting Thursday about the price, hoping the city council can come up with a more affordable conclusion.