HAZLET –On Friday night, the Hazlet Swim Club will be the place to be for something entirely new: a summer barbecue with the locals at the swim club until 10 p.m., with a cash bar that offers adult patrons more than blue Gatorade. The fundraiser will be run by the Hazlet-based RAINE Foundation which helps Bayshore families through hard times and the holidays.
This is a flip turn from business as usual at Green Acres Drive. Alcohol has always been strictly prohibited at the family-oriented club and the closing time has always been 8. But Township Committeeman Skip McKay, a self-described “numbers guy,” is eager to try alternative pathways to bring cash flow to the classic swim club with its three pools, pavilions and plantings. The RAINE Staycation event will be an experiment, he explained at the August 6 Township Committee meeting.
“Quite frankly, when you look at the Pool Club, we’re looking at how do we do special events next year to make the pool fund better,” said McKay, in response to questions posed by resident Bill Shewan about the idea at the August 6 Township Committee meeting. “The membership is basically in decline or static. So the question really is how we keep it viable. Special events are one of the ways we are looking at it, so we are doing a trial. The RAINE Foundation is a local charity and does wonderful work, so that’s why we are doing this in trial –to see where the speed bumps are.”
Mayor Scott Aagre added “One of the thought processes is that by doing an event like this, especially with RAINE, will actually bring new memberships in. People who don’t belong to the club will actually come in and see it.”
McKay said the swim club must continue to attract members and remain a self-funded utility as the Township Committee works to avoid raising taxes to run the town.
The RAINE Foundation will cover the township’s expenses at the event, McKay said. Tickets for adults are $20 and children under 12 are free. There will be special activities at the event just for them.
Ticket buyers with proof of legal drinking age can buy a bracelet that allows for up to two drinks at a roped-off bar area, said township administrator Dennis Pino.
Numerous police officers, many of who are regular supporters of RAINE, will be on hand to keep an eye out for any trouble.
The August 16 event begins at 6 p.m. Swim club members already at the club will not have to leave the club when the event begins, but adults will have to purchase wristbands to access the bar.