Gahanna pool users can tackle an aqua climbing wall and inflatable obstacle course this summer.

The Hunters Ridge Pool, 341 Harrow Blvd., opened for the season May 25, and the Gahanna Swimming Pool, 148 Parkland Drive, opened May 26.

Daily hours at Hunters Ridge are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Sept. 3, while Gahanna Swimming Pool hours are from noon to 8 p.m. through Aug. 14.

Independence Day hours for both pools are from noon to 6 p.m.

Beth McCollam, parks and recreation public information coordinator, said new features were added to both Hunters Ridge Pool and Gahanna Swimming Pool after members and daily visitors asked for more amenities.

While some requested amenities, which included high-powered slides and a lazy river, currently are not possible, she said, recreation staff added new features that will set Gahanna pools apart from other communities, thanks to a $19,185 AquaClimb wall and a $10,650 Aflex inflatable obstacle course.

Both were purchased as a result of salary savings from 2017 weather closings and from remaining operational and equipment budgets.

"With an aging pool, we continue to strive to find fun and current activity and amenities for our members and guests, similar to what they might be able to find at other aquatic facilities," said Brian Gill, recreation superintendent.

The AquaClimb wall is a 12-foot high wall that allows users to climb as they would on a regular climbing wall. It hangs over the water, so climbers can drop from the wall into the pool.

The wall replaces the deteriorating diving boards at the front pool of the Gahanna Swimming Pool.

"The walls are less of a hazard and are really popular in pools where they have already been installed," said Scott Haden, aquatics recreation supervisor. "We still have diving boards at the back pool at GSP and at HRP."

Gill said salary savings will result at the front pool.

"With a diving board, we are required to have additional lifeguards on the pool due to safety concerns, which is an added cost on days when it might not be needed," he said. "The wall allows us to ensure we have proper staffing levels based on the numbers in and around the pool."

The 70-foot inflatable obstacle course is a dual course, so users can race to the slide at the end, McCollam said.

The course is portable and can be used in both pools but will mostly be seen at the Gahanna pool.

Teens can look forward to using it at this year's teen nights at Hunters Ridge and other possible events in the future, according to McCollam.

Visitors must pass the swim test to use both new features, but the amenities have no age or height limits.

"These amenities will set us apart from other communities," Haden said. "Not many others have these, and it will add character to our pool. This is a great added value for pool memberships this year."

He said residents can expect the addition of smaller amenities throughout the summer at both pools, including oversized beach balls.

In addition to these features, lockers have been installed at both pools.

Visitors are encouraged to bring their own lock or borrow one from guest services for single-day use only.

Lockers are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Gahanna Swimming Pool also has received facility enhancements, including a new boiler and liner, costing $23,405 and $104,764, respectively, paid for with capital improvement funds, McCollam said.

A new roof, costing $6,750, also was added in the fall of 2017 on a maintenance building at the Gahanna pool. It was financed through the parks facilities budget.

"I'd like to thank Gahanna City Council for approving the funds for these significant improvements to our biggest pool," said Jeff Barr, Gahanna Parks and Recreation director. "This investment shows council is committed to sustaining our pools and to make them a fun and safe place for all Gahanna families."

For a full list of events and pool information, visit www.gahanna.gov/aquatics.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla