Hilliard will have no pool season in 2020.
City Manager Michelle Crandall said Monday, April 27, that the Hilliard Family Aquatic Center at Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park and the Clyde “Butch” Seidle Community Pool on Schirtzinger Road will not operate this season.
The closure extends to the splash pad at Hilliard's Station Park, 4021 Main St.
Crandall said she made the decision after listening to Gov. Mike DeWine issue his orders April 27 to begin reopening certain businesses in the state after all but essential businesses were ordered closed in mid-March to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The list did not include recreation centers or pools.
“These are not decisions we took lightly, given the popularity of Hilliard’s aquatic facilities and summer events, (but) due to the continuation of social-distancing practices and the need to ensure the health and safety of our community, opening our pools is not possible,” Crandall said.
A shortened season also is not in the cards, she said.
Because significant fixed costs are associated with preparing pools to open for the summer season, it would not be financially practical to plan to offer a shortened or modified season, Crandall said.
Staffing also would be a challenge, as many seasonal employees hired to work at the pools likely would seek other summer employment, she said.
Crandall’s order did not require the consent of Hilliard City Council, said David Ball, director of communications for Hilliard.
Council member Cynthia Vermillion said she agreed with the recommendation.
“I don’t see a safe way to operate (pools) in this environment,” Vermillion said.
Residents who already have purchased pool memberships will receive refunds, Ball said.
The pools were scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend.
No decision has been made concerning the city’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display, but the city has canceled all events through June 30, including Celebration at the Station concerts and Motivation at the Station exercise classes at Hilliard's Station Park for the month of June. The Safety Town and Touch-a-Truck activities have been canceled, too.
The city has no plan to reschedule the events, Crandall said.
Refunds for Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department programs, such as Safety Town and pool memberships, will be reimbursed to the credit card used to make the purchase or by check if paid in that manner, according to the city.
In addition, Hilliard's Phyllis A. Ernst Senior Center will remain closed through June 30.
It remains to be seen if any programs will be possible later in the year, Crandall said.
“Our first priority is the safety and health of our community," she said. "This crisis evolves each day, so at this time we are maintaining a wait-and-see approach for the remainder of the summer.
"We remain hopeful that it will be possible to hold our popular events and activities later in the summer, but right now we don’t have enough direction from the state of Ohio to make a final decision."