Those hoping to cool off from the brutal central Kentucky humidity by taking a dip at Juniper Hill Aquatic Center this summer are going to feel the burn — in the wallet. The city’s only public swimming pool opened its gates for the season Saturday with a 50-cent increase on single-day admission rates.

The aquatic center currently charges $5.50 for children ages 3-10 and $6.50 for those 11 and older. Children 2 and younger are free. Twilight admission (from 4-7 p.m.) is $3.50 for all ages.

The rate hike comes on the heels of a previous increase before the start of last summer, when city officials voted to decrease the number of age groups from four (ages 3-10; 11-18; 19-59; and 60 and older) to two and charge $5 and $6, respectively. In addition to helping simplify the admission process, which often leads to long lines at the gate, city leaders said at the time that the rates put the aquatic center in line with other similar facilities in neighboring counties.

Those wanting to forgo the lines, opting instead for season passes, will also be paying more this season. Individual passes are $10 higher at $110. A family of four can expect to pay $15 more at $215. Five-member family rates went up $20 to $270, and a family of six will pay an additional $25, or $325. Family members can be added to a membership at a cost of $55 per person.

While the rate increases will help cover rising facility costs, officials should tread carefully so as not to make admission to the aquatic center too pricey for families.

With only one public swimming hole in the county, the one persistent problem leaders have been unable to solve thus far is capacity. Juniper Hill Aquatic Center can hold only 600 people. Therefore, on days when it’s scorching hot outside, the pool area and lounge chairs fill quickly — oftentimes leaving folks waiting in the heat at the gate for a fellow pool-goer to leave before gaining admittance.

If you want to swim during the day this summer you must adhere to the old adage “the early bird gets the worm.” May, June and July hours are Monday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 12:30-7 p.m.

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