Community pools making the best of circumstances

Heat wave plus pandemic causing towns to get creative

WBEN Newsroom
July 08, 2020 - 3:53 am
Lincoln Pool

[WBEN Photo - Brendan Keany]

BUFFALO (WBEN) - In what seems to be a rather cruel set of circumstances, Western New Yorkers are experiencing what could turn out to be a record setting heat wave during a pandemic.

Fortunately, some community pools, such as the Lincoln Pool in Tonawanda, have opened up to residents just in time to help combat the heat - but of course, they can't pack in nearly as many people as they would have in years past.

"Based on guidelines from New York State, the size of the pool, the square footage, where normally we could have, in normal times, 300 kids or people in the pool at a time, we're limited to 75," said Town of Tonawanda Superintendent for Parks & Recreation Mark Campanella.

Listen to Campanella's full comments below:

Mike Frysz serves as the outreach coordinator for the Town of Amherst, and he discussed the unique system the town has created in order to allow more people access in a time of limited capability at their Clearfield Community Center.

"It's on a pre-registration basis," said Frysz, noting that use is down about 60% per day compared to an average summer. "People obtain their recreation ID cards, and once those are obtained, then they can register online for opportunities to go swimming, and we have limited participation at both pools that we have open."

Essentially, residents can go online to reserve an hour and a half time slot to have access to either pool, and there are 30 minutes set aside between time slots so that staff can properly sanitize and disinfect the area before the next set of residents can come in.

Despite the limitations, Frysz said the town is simply happy to be able to provide any type of service at this point.

"We're delighted to have the opportunity to provide the service of having a pool open, albeit on a limited basis, for our families and especially the children who very much appreciate the opportunity, especially after having been sidelined for all those months," he said.

Listen to Frysz's full comments below:

Perhaps mostly due to the heat, Campanella added that there have been more residents to come out that what they had originally anticipated. However, he said that residents have been very cooperative thus far.  

"With the exception of the first day when there were people lined up here early in the morning, I think people realized there's no panic, there's no reason to get here (then)," he said. "People come and go inside the pool, so if there are 75 people in, you wait in line, three come out, three go in."

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