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Council’s view on pool is deja vu

By Staff | Aug 7, 2011

In the words of Yogi Berra, “it was deja vu all over again.”

I refer to the Blue Earth City Council meeting last Monday night.

As part of her city administrator’s report, Kathy Bailey informed the council that the Blue Earth Swimming Pool will close for this 2011 season on Friday, Aug. 26.

That is a week before the Labor Day holiday weekend and 10 days before school is going to start.

Several City Council members were appalled. Just as they were a year ago.

In fact, several made some of the very same comments that they made last year when they learned the pool was going to close before Labor Day and the start of school.

The exact same comments. Hence the feeling of deja vu. We have been here before.

The problem is simple. Almost all of the lifeguards at the pool are college students or high school athletes.

Colleges start pretty early and the students are hustling off to move into their dorm or apartment.

The high school students are starting fall sports practices. For example, football practice starts today, Monday, Aug. 15 with two a day practices.

I hate to admit summer is over on Aug. 26, but maybe it is for some of these kids.

Last year the council scrambled around and found some volunteer workers and at least one or two lifeguards in order to keep the pool open for a few extra days.

City Attorney (and part time Green Giant) David Frundt was one of those volunteers.

At Monday’s meeting he recalled that at least one of the extended days the pool was open only had five kids in attendance.

There is, of course, an unknown factor in trying to keep the pool open. Weather.

If it is as hot and humid as it has been for most of this summer, then we are going to wish the pool was still open.

If it is cool and rainy, then who cares.

I admit I am one of the folks who has made use of the pool over the past couple months.

Sure, my excuse is that I had to take some grandkids down there. But, the truth of the matter is that I actually wanted to go – and cool off.

It was just too hot and humid and I?needed to either turn the garden hose on myself or head to the pool. Especially after getting done mowing the lawn or weeding the garden.

The last time I went to the pool was on Sunday, July 31. It was packed.

Seems that it was a free swim day, sponsored by the grant from the Statewide Heath Improvement Program (SHIP).

However, most of the people at the pool that I talked to had no idea when they headed to the pool that admittance was going to be gratis. They just were too dang hot and needed to cool off.

It was almost hard to do. The hot weather has made the pool water quite warm. Hot, even.

Still, it was cooler than the 94 degrees air temperature that day.

On a more ironic note, I received another news release from the SHIP people that there is another set of free swim days scheduled at the county’s pools.

The one in Blue Earth is set for Sunday, Aug. 28.

Somebody should tell them that date is two days after the pool will be closed for the season.

But, back to the problem at hand. The pool is going to close 10 days before school starts.

The City Council wants it to stay open, but there needs to be certified lifeguards on duty or it cannot be open.

Several council members seem determined to keep the pool open. Some even indicated they may do some volunteer hours there themselves.

However, most also admitted that their Red Cross life saving badge probably expired 30 years ago.

Mayor Rob Hammond was one of those volunteers. He dared County Commissioner Greg Young, who was in attendance at the meeting, to join him.

“I will if you will,” Young said. But, he added he didn’t think his lifeguarding certification was anywhere near current.

So, it is doubtful at this time that the pool will be open past Aug. 26. But stay tuned and we will try and let you know if it will be.

My suggestion is that if the pool is going to be open longer days in 2012, the council should get on that task now, not next August.

Maybe Rob Hammond, John Huisman, Glenn Gaylord and Greg Young should all take a life guard class together and be the team that works that last week of summer.

It would sure make for a fun photo opportunity.