Everybody into the Barnesville pool
BARNESVILLE — Swimmers eager for a trip to the Barnesville Memorial Park Pool can dive in on Memorial Day weekend.
Located next to the Parks and Recreation Center, the pool will open this summer after an off year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re going to open Saturday of Memorial Day weekend,” Rich Wells, director at the center, said. “We’re going to run noon to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.”
He said interest is high.
“Obviously with the pandemic, we didn’t even open last year with all the protocols and whatnot, which is kind of a hindrance because we have about a 200-kid swim team here,” Wells said. “Our plan this year is to move forward as normal as possible with the protocols put in place by the governor.
“We plan to have regular general mission swim and a swim team again this year,” he said.
Wells said the current verision of the pool is fairly new and was built in large part with a donation from the Wittmer family
“This is the fourth year of this new pool but only the third year actually using it, and we’ll have every aspect of the pool open,” he said.
While a limit of swimmers in the pool at any one time has not been decided, Wells said he and the lifeguards will have a meeting this weekend to discuss this.
“We’ll see what the protocol is, go from there and adjust it accordingly,” he said, adding the pool holds about 240,000 gallons of water. “It’s a decent-sized pool. On a busy day we might get 150 swimmers at one time if the conditions are right and the weather’s nice.”
Wells said the pool has hosted many activities for both seasoned swimmers and low-impact exercise for senior citizens and people recovering from injuries.
“With this new pool, we have the advantage of a zero entry,” he said, referring to a sloping entry into the pool. “It’s almost like running from the beach right into the water.
“We also have handicap-accessible floating gear. We have a wheelchair we can put you into the water with. We’re handicap-accessible in all areas, which is good for everybody. The eldery people with the zero entry can walk right into the pool, they don’t have to worry about climbing any ladders to get in and out of the pool.”
Young swimmers are also welcome.
“We no longer have the kiddie pool, we have the splash grounds so the kids can just run in and out of the water, too, and that’s a good place for the parents to watch their kids,” Wells said.
Other attractions include a patio with shaded cover and a drop slide for the pool.
“That’s been a big attraction,” he said. “It drops you straight into the water from about a 4-foot drop.”
He said moonlight swims will continue on Monday nights for $1.
“We’ll also have a free swim the weekend of July 4, for that Saturday,” he said.
He commended his staff for their enthusiasm and dedication.
“I have fantastic help. I know some places struggle to get guards. I’ve never had any trouble finding guards. This year we’re going to have a pool manager and 18 guards we’ve hired. We’re full-staffed and ready to go.”
The swim team is also eager.
“We have a fantastic swim team and our swim coach, Bobbi Jo Johnson, has run the program for I believe 35 years, and she’s just been a pillar of the swim program here and had so many kids involved in the swimming,” he said, adding he looks forward to a busy season. “Just like everything, everybody’s ready to get back to normal.”
The Parks and Recreation Center is located at 130 Fair St.