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Tom Lachocki

If your community has already secured funding for a new pool, consider yourself lucky. Thanks to the housing crisis, it?s a buyers market in all sectors of development and construction.

?Since many contractors are looking for work, now is a good time to put out bids [because] they?re willing to do a job for less money,? says the principal of Judith Leblein-Josephs and Associates, in Wayne, N.J.

But how can a community go ahead with a new pool project in times like these? Leblein-Josephs admits it may take political courage for civic leaders to move forward with what some will consider nonessential spending, but in the end, those who do so will get a new facility built at a very reasonable cost.

Whether your community sees a new facility in its future, you should pay close attention to your consumer market, says Leblein-Josephs. While she believes there will always be a market for high-end private clubs and waterparks, patrons forced to cut expenses are likely to begin re-evaluating their usage of those facilities. They?ll look for the best value that meets their needs, and in some cases that may mean turning to a municipal or nonprofit facility.

In this growing market of value-conscious consumers, Leblein-Josephs recommends operators consider implementing new and creative pricing structures and incorporate other membership incentives through corporate partners. Increase the perceived value of the membership or allow for payment plans.