The hot weather has come just in time for the City of Warren municipal pool, which is set to open on Saturday.
Much work, and quite a bit of money, have gone into getting the pool ready for the season.
For the first time, people at the pool will be able to pay with a credit or debit card. "Last year we had a lot of people ask to pay, so we have installed the system," said Cindy Strandburg, who manages the pool for the city.
Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton
Above, with Pool Manager Cindy Strandburg looking on, a group of lifeguards run through a rescue drill on Friday evening at the City of Warren Municipal Pool, which is slated to open on Saturday.
At right is a picture of the new handicapped lift installed recently.
Acting City Manager Mary Ann Nau said the city has made a concerted effort to make the facility compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. All of the capital improvements at the pool that have been completed have been done with that vision in mind.
A new chair lift was installed and a railing has been put in place in the zero-entry pool entry. Nau said the handrail was funded through a grant from insurance provider PennPrime.
Holtz explained that the railing was "manufactured (by) a local person. That turned out to be a nice project. (It was) custom made for the slope of the pool."
Department of Public Works Director Mike Holtz said the chair lift cost $5,800. Nau said that was funded out of the capital budget.
A new chlorine system has also been installed. Strandburg said instead of liquid chlorine, chlorine "hockey pucks" will now be used. She explained that the "pucks" have a higher concentration of chemicals allowing the city to use fewer, overall.
The pool also got a paint job. At a total cost of $8,400, Holtz explained that the pool was painted and all the cracks were repaired.
Holtz estimated the city spent between $17,000 and $18,000 to get the pool up and running.
For the upcoming season, hours of operations have been reduced slightly. Instead of being open from noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, those hours have been reduced to noon to 6 p.m. Strandburg said last year "after six o'clock the pool was not heavily used."
A goal that city staff has set for pool operation this year is to acquire a better understanding of who is using the pool. "(We're) hoping to get a barcode scanning system up and running," Strandburg said. She explained that the goal is to have people with passes scan them "so that we can track attendance and where people are coming from."
Nau said such information will allow city staff to answer questions from city council during upcoming budget discussions regarding pool usage. Strandburg said that in past years, approximately 60 percent of passes sold were purchased by city residents. The other 40 percent come from the surrounding municipalities, including across the state line. Noting that the Jamestown, N.Y., area does not have an outdoor pool, "we get a large amount of people from Jamestown," she said.
The pool will be open on Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2 and then closed through the end of school, re-opening on Saturday, June 8 with normal hours. Hours will be from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, Friday and Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.