South Suburban Parks and Recreation is a community-driven organization that provides both indoor and outdoor recreation amenities to six communities and three counties in the southern metropolitan area of Denver.
In 2020, those amenities look a lot different during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lone Tree Recreation Center is scheduled to open on June 1 with safety guidelines in place.
The four outdoor pools are usually open by now, with crowds of 200-300 hundred people at each location on a warm Colorado day.
RMPBS visited the Cook Creek pool as water was slowly pouring in.
South Suburban Pools
South Suburban pools look to reopen.
Kelsey Whisler with South Suburban said "We are committed to getting this pool open in some capacity this summer. It is an exciting day, but we still have a lot of questions unanswered. we are filling the pool and it’s after Memorial Day so that's definitely unusual. We unfortunately don't have specific dates yet as to when we can open the pools, but we are hopeful and that’s why we are filling it. We hope to get some folks out here enjoying it soon."
Typically, it’s the beginning of March when they begin the process of opening the outdoor pools.
A lot of that time is spent on recruiting staff and getting lifeguards trained. Because of COVID-19, they haven't been able to do any of that work due to social distancing and mask wearing. Those restrictions have prevented lifeguard training, which is the number one thing to make sure they have safe operations.
Whisler says they are working through issues now and do have several lifeguard applications. As soon as they are able, they will begin running as many lifeguard classes as they need to make sure they are safely staffed.
May is also National Water Safety Month because people are usually gearing up to go swimming. There are a lot of kids who haven't been able to do swim lessons for the last three months, so they are concerned there are possibly going to be more saves, so it's important to have the lifeguards and get them trained. Those are some of the challenges they are working around beyond social distancing.
"Will people have to wear a mask at the pool? We don't know for sure. We don't know what our capacity will be," Whisler said.
There will probably need to be limited pool furniture or none at all. Locker rooms will also likely be closed. Safety is always the number one priority, so they are looking at the best ways to do that for both staff and participants.
"I wish i had a magic ball to tell me when we're going to open. If I've learned anything through this it's better not to make too many plans ahead. Once we get the go ahead, we'll work as quickly as we can to get open for the public," Whisler said.
After the interview, Governor Polis released guidelines that included personal training at pools, but Whisler says they are still looking at the new information.
The press release from CDPHE lists additional businesses that can open "under abundant precautions" during the Safer at Home order, including "Personal training at pools (indoor pools may have no more than 4 people)."