OCEAN CITY – Following a year of studying the usage of the Ocean Bowl Skate Park, the Recreation and Parks Commission plans to recommend to the full Mayor and Council its funding stay as is.
This week the Skate Park Committee reconvened to look over additional data collected at the Ocean Bowl Skate Park of usage and, expenses and revenue.
This time last year, the Mayor and City Council voted to have Ocean Bowl Skate Park operate through the summer during its normal hours, which is open seven days a week during daylight. However, cost-cutting changes were proposed to shut it down during the months of January and February during the week. The reduction in hours would have saved the town approximately $21,000.
Due to the public’s backlash, the council reconsidered the decision and voted to appropriate $21,000 in the FY14 budget to have the Ocean Bowl operate its normal hours during the off-season and continue with the formation of a skate park committee to conduct a study.
The committee first met a couple of months ago when 2013 data was reviewed. In summary, Recreation and Parks Assistant Director Susan Petito presented the skate park was open a total of 323 days during 2013.
According to the report, up to January there were 10,329 visits to the Ocean Bowl in 2013, showing daily attendance averaging nearly 31 skaters per day.
The skate operation brought in a total of $55,194 in revenue, which was derived from pass visits, pad rentals, product sales and numerous camps and programs. Additionally, the park received a donation of $1,000 from the Elks Lodge to help show support for its continued operation.
Total staff hours equaled 5,361 for a wage expense of $64,576. Petito noted that staff members are not only responsible for the supervision of the skate park, but they also teach lessons, support scheduled programs and competitions, and support and protect the entire two-block area that encompasses the Downtown Recreation Complex.
The report furthered, per Councilman Dennis Dare’s request, the staff members at the Ocean Bowl have begun to track the departure time of each participating skater so that an estimate of skater hours spent in the park may be determined on a daily basis.
From Thursday, Jan. 16, through Sunday, Feb. 9, the park was open 17 days, 16 for which skater time in the park was collected. During those 16 dates, 227 skaters were in the park for a total of 639.5 hours, showing that skaters stay in the park an average of a little over two and half hours per day during the cold weather months.
In 2012, the Ocean Bowl cost $95,000 while in 2013 it cost $75,000 to operate.
Since last year, Ocean Bowl Manager Dave Messick reported the park has saved about $20,000 by tightening all expenses.
This week the committee reviewed progress at the Ocean Bowl in the first three months of 2014. Between January, February and March of this year, the Ocean Bowl was open 57 days with an attendance of 1,249. The total time spent in the park was 3,522 hours with an individual averaging 2.82 hours. There were 884 employee hours spent in the park with payroll expenses reaching $11,100. There were 62 daily passes sold, 106 annual passes sold and two pad rentals reaching revenue of $8,186 in the three months of this year.
“The recommendation is that we leave the skate park alone. It cut expenses and people are using it,” Commission Chair Councilman Joe Mitrecic said on Thursday.
According to Mitrecic, the Ocean Bowl is set to be funded the same as in previous years in the proposed FY15 Budget that is scheduled to receive its final vote on May 19.