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Thursday, May 28th, 2020

Officials: Bryson Pool to be open only to private parties

By William Kincaid
CELINA - City officials have decided to open Bryson Pool on June 6 but on a limited, private-party-only basis to comply with state COVID-19 pandemic directives, city safety service director Tom Hitchcock said.
They also on Wednesday afternoon reopened Huffy pond in Eastview Park, which contains a beach area. Yet the city is not allowed to turn on the splash pads at either Bryson Pool or the Bryson Park District along Lake Shore Drive or allow access to playground equipment, per state orders.
"Right now we're only allowed to have 60 people in the water at any one time" at Bryson pool, Hitchcock explained. "That's the mandatory guidelines from the state because we have to keep 6-feet separation from everybody in the pool."
Rather than permitting many people onto the pool grounds - and then trying to limit the number of swimmers in the pool to 60 at any given time - they opted to go the route of private-party only.
"We're hoping that in the future the restrictions get lifted, and then we can open the pool up to normal usage," he said. "But if we didn't open it up at least somewhat at the beginning we wouldn't have lifeguards when those restrictions get lifted."
Hitchcock said a pool manager and assistant manager, as well as enough lifeguards to watch over private parties, have been hired. The pool is being filled and must be inspected by the health department before the June 6 opening.
Private pool parties can be scheduled between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. most days in June and between 5:30 and 10 p.m. Fridays through Sundays in July. The cost is $100 per hour. The maximum number of people allowed at a private pool party is 60.
"We can open the pool, but the guidelines do not allow us to open the splash pad at the pool," he noted. "At this point they have not opened splash pads. They have not opened playgrounds. So those all have to still remain closed but we can open the pool itself."
Just last summer, the city debuted new playground equipment and a 2,827-square-foot splash pad at the Bryson Park District that proved to be popular.
Another option for those looking to cool off is the city's Huffy pond. It's considered a swim-at-your-own-risk area with no lifeguards on site. Swimmers are expected to keep 6 feet apart from one another, Hitchcock said, adding the pond is tested weekly for E.coli and other contaminants.
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