By Reach for the Wall Staff.
The Washington DC metro area (i.e., DMV) is a hotbed for swimming, but a shortage of enclosed pool space in our area between September and May each year restricts the number of people who can participate in the sport (as well as in learn-to-swim classes, adult fitness programs, and other aquatic activities) during those colder months.
Local and state governments often cannot address this shortage because tight public budgets increasingly require officials to prioritize roads, healthcare, education and other critical public services over recreational facilities such as enclosed pools. The difficulty of building, operating and maintaining permanently-enclosed pools on a financially sustainable basis also deters the private sector from filling the void (see e.g., Lab School).
So, what to do? Well, a simple solution to this pool shortage might be right in front of us. Consider that the DMV has hundreds of outdoor neighborhood pools that go unused each year between September and May. Also consider that temporary pool enclosures (see e.g., SERG structures) have evolved beyond bubble technology to offer outdoor neighborhood pools an inexpensive way to become temporarily enclosed during colder months yet remain open-air during the summer. This means a savvy pool operator can run a profitable business by partnering with a suitable outdoor neighborhood pool, enclosing it with a temporary SERG-like structure between September and May, and keeping the pool busy throughout the day and early evening with swim club practices, learn-to-swim classes, and aquatic fitness programs.
If you run a summer outdoor pool that could benefit from additional revenue during the 9-month off-season, let us know by sending an email to Operations@reachforthewall.org. Similarly, if you run a swim club, learn-to-swim classes or aquatic fitness programs and need more pool space during this 9-month period, tell us. Finally, if you are an experienced pool operator in the DMV and want to expand your business, tell us. We’ll put everyone who contacts us in touch with each other, and share with you some preliminary analysis we’ve put together.