Surf and revenue are up at Edina pool

  • Article by: MARY JANE SMETANKA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 18, 2012 - 12:40 PM

The city says it will promote the FlowRider more heavily next year to attract customers.

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Edina Flowrider

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The inaugural season of Edina's surfing pool is over, and the new attraction added about $30,000 in revenue to the city's Aquatic Center.

Susan Faus, senior recreation facility manager for the city, said officials are pleased but think they can sell more FlowRider tickets in future summers with more aggressive marketing. Overall, season tickets and admissions to the center brought in about $795,000 this summer.

"We used this as a trial. We really didn't know what to expect from the FlowRider," Faus said. "We feel really good about these figures. ... but we just started promoting it at the very end of the season."

The city-owned Aquatic Center spent a little over $1 million for the surfing pool, which was installed earlier this year. It is the second FlowRider in the state and the first to be outside. The center, which is expected to be self-supporting, had saved for years to buy the pool.

The center has a playground, water cannons and pirate-themed attractions in addition to a large pool, but the city has found that as kids grow into teenagers, they are less likely to patronize the center. Officials hoped the opportunity to surf would attract more teenagers.

It did, Faus said, especially in the evenings and on weekends.

"We had more teenagers and younger adults ages 18 to 24," she said. "A lot of the draw was by word of mouth, especially among younger adults."

Faus said she wasn't sure how many FlowRider season tickets or daily admissions were sold, but overall season attendance increased by 8,800 admissions over 89,000 admissions in 2011. The center was open from June 9 to Aug. 26.

In August, about 30 people participated in a FlowRider competition. Faus said the city wants to run more of that sort of event in the future to draw attention to the surfing pool. The city also is looking at possibly allowing people to rent the FlowRider for private events like birthday parties.

Faus, who is new to the city staff, said that with more promotion, she thinks the surfing pool will draw more users. Many people didn't know the center had the FlowRider, she said, and some didn't realize that they had to buy an additional ticket to use it.

"Parents sometimes drop their children off with limited money for other things and they didn't realize there was an additional fee," she said. "A lot of this is going to depend on how we promote it."

Mary Jane Smetanka • 612-673-7380 Twitter: @smetan

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