After completing his service in the Marine Corps, Hillsboro resident Heith Brown recently assumed the role of general manager of the Hillsboro Swim Organization (HSO), which opens its second year of managing the pool on Monday, May 23 and will remain open through Aug. 13.
Formerly, the privately owned Hillsboro Swim Club, the Hillsboro Swim Organization became a non-profit corporation at the end of 2019. “This makes it a little more available to the rest of the community because it’s not an exclusive club,” said Brown. “Now it is truly a community pool where everyone in the community comes and is involved in every sort of way as well as making this place run.”
Revenue for the pool comes from pool admission and activity fees, fundraising and donations. Thirty percent of the pool’s operating funds come from fundraising and donations.
“Our community has been a huge help,” said Brown. He said a number of local businesses and individuals have contributed their time and money toward the success of the pool. The city of Hillsboro also donated benches to the pool.
“We also asked our sponsors this year for community young day donations,” said Brown. “So far we’ve gotten two local businesses to sponsor the free entry for the first 30 days, so 30 kids can come in who are day pass patrons.”
In 2021, the Hillsboro Swim Organization had 5,072 visits with an average daily attendance of 73. The highest daily attendance was 172.
Swimmers ages 13 and older can enjoy the pool for a day for $10. The cost for those from 5-12 years old is $5 for the day, and children 4 and younger are free.
“This year we’re excited that we’ve added some better perks for the season pass patrons,” said Brown.
Season pass options are available at Gold, Silver and Standard levels. All season pass levels include free water aerobics, access to the HSO Appreciation Night party, and free entry to moonlight swims. The Silver pass option includes the ability to participate in Bring-A-Friend-Day and a 20 percent discount on swim classes. In addition to these perks, the Gold pass option includes a 25 percent discount on cabana rentals, a 10 percent discount for holding private parties, and HSO voting rights.
Gold season passes are $270 or $250 to renew a 2021 pass by May 31. Silver season passes are $215 or $200 to renew. A Standard season pass is $165 or $150 to renew.
Brown is a certified pool operator who is also lifeguard and instructor certified. “While I’ve been re-evaluating everything that was done last year, safety has been my number one priority,” he said. “I lowered the lifeguard chair about a foot and a half because it wasn’t safe for our lifeguard to jump off of for a rescue.”
Brown said at some point during the season an HSO Appreciation Night will include music, games and raffles. “Season pass holders will get in for free, and then for day pass patrons there will be a small admission fee that we haven’t decided on yet.”
Silver and Gold season pass holders will be able to bring a friend to the pool at no cost on a designated day. “We’ll plan on doing one in June and one in July if not more if it’s received well,” said Brown.
“One of our assistant managers, Stephanie Harper, who is coming back from last year, has been involved in swimming since she’s been in high school is freshly retired, and she’s going to take the helm of our swim classes,” said Brown. “She’s also going to make sure our lifeguards are trained up to par.”
Cabanas with two lounge chairs, a side table, and a netted wall can be rented for a half day for $50 or for a full day for $100 with a 25-percent discount for Gold season pass holders.
Additionally, the HSO is allowing people to rent the pool for after-hours parties from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for $300 for groups of 50 or fewer and $350 for groups of 51 to 75.
“Everyone always claims that there is not a lot to do in Hillsboro, which I’ve always found to be a lie because there are things to do, but people just don’t realize it,” said Brown. “We have all these events going on, and I encourage people to come out here because it’s something to do that’s not very expensive, and you don’t have to drive very far if you live in town or in Highland County.”
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.