Attendance at several area aquatic centers is down sharply from this time last year because of the weather in recent weeks, but local fruit farmers are reporting a perfect crop of strawberries because of periods with cooler temperatures or heavy rains.
The Adventure Reef Water Park at the Kettering Recreation Complex has seen 2,570 visitors since opening Memorial Day weekend, when temperatures were below average. That represents a nearly 44 percent drop from 4,557 visitors for the same period last year, said Claudine Heizer, a spokeswoman for the Kettering Parks and Recreation Department.
“People don’t want to swim when it is not sunny and it is kind of chilly out,” Heizer said.
The Kroger Aquatic Center at the Heights has attracted about 800 visitors, which is “about 10,000 less than last year,” said Josh Sullenberger, executive director of the YMCA at the Heights, which operates the facility.
The Huber Heights center has been open only three days so far this season, compared to eight days for the same period in 2012. Last year during those eight days the average temperature was about 86 degrees, compared to 68 degrees over the same days this year, Sullenberger said.
Bill Fulton, co-owner of Fulton Farms in Troy, said this week’s cooler temperatures are ideal for strawberry ripening and picking.
“We’ve had a perfect amount of rain,” said Nick Monnin of Monnin’s Fruit Farm in Butler Twp. “They’ve never had to struggle like last year, where it was so dry and miserable that they just didn’t grow very well. But this year it’s just unbelievable.”
Storm Center 7 meteorologist Erica Collura said this week’s unseasonably cool weather is the result of a high pressure system bringing in cooler air from Canada. We will reach the upper 70s by mid-week, but rain on Friday will bring cooler temperatures. The weekend looks dry, with temperatures in the mid-70s, she said.