Too early to tell about status of Grandview Heights' pool season, parks director says

Alan Froman
ThisWeek group
Grandview Heights Municipal Pool

It's still too early to tell whether taking a swan dive off one of the boards this summer at the Grandview Heights Municipal Pool would result in a splash or a thud.

"Ordinarily, in early February we would be in the process of working with our pool manager to start hiring staff for the summer and purchasing equipment for the pool," parks and recreation director Mike Patterson said.

That planning is being delayed because it's still uncertain whether the pool will open as scheduled Memorial Day weekend or at a later date, he said.

The same holds true for other summer activities and events, including the Tour de Grandview Cycling Classic, Patterson said.

Last summer, the decisions were painful, but obvious – the pool and events like the bike race had to be canceled as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, he said.

"Right now, we're talking within our department about three different options we may take this year," Patterson said. "That's with the current restrictions (limiting public gatherings) in place, a situation where restrictions are reduced and one where the COVID conditions would allow us to return to pre-COVID conditions with no restrictions."

"There's always hope" that the latter scenario could occur, he said.

The nature of the activity at a municipal pool makes it difficult to come up with a model in which limited and safe attendance could be allowed, Patterson said.

"We've been looking at different models that may be out there, that maybe some pool facilities that did open at some point last year used to see if they might be feasible," he said.

Even if the pool would open for the season, it's still to be determined whether and how many season passes would be offered and what the price structure would be, Patterson said.

Opening the pool means more than just filling it with water, he said. The facility must be cleaned and equipment either installed or repaired, Patterson said. The chemicals added to the pool water also must be balanced.

About 30 to 45 days would be required typically to get the pool facility ready for opening day, he said.

Local health departments weighed in last year to set restrictions and guidelines for how and whether public pools could open safely, Patterson said.

Grandview and other central Ohio municipalities again will look to Franklin County Public Health for guidance, he said.

"They're busy with getting the vaccine rolled out, so they haven't addressed the pool issue just yet," Patterson said.

The set date for the Tour de Grandview Cycling Classic would be Friday, June 11, but that event also remains up in the air, he said.

The race is licensed through USA Cycling, which has not yet begun to issue permits for races nationwide, Patterson said.

"Last year, it was all pretty cut and dried; they weren't issuing any permits or certifications for events," he said. "This year, we don't know yet if we'll be able to hold the race as scheduled or whether we might be able or need to delay it to later in the year."

The parks and recreation department is planning a series of spring activities, including soccer, softball and baseball clinics and after-school activities for youngsters and adult pickleball and basketball leagues.

Registration for Grandview and Marble Cliff residents began Feb. 8.

"We're continuing to follow all the safety guidelines, requiring people to wear masks and maintaining social distancing," recreation supervisor Taylor Lindsey said.

The parks department also is proceeding with plans for a series of youth summer camps that will be held during the summer, she said.

"We're moving forward with the idea that we would hold them as normal with a 40-person limit," LIndsey said. "If we have to, we will split campers into smaller groups of 10 or fewer for each camp."

A new summer camp for older students in grades 4-8 is planned for Aug. 2-6.

Explore the 614 will offer a week of field trips to destinations around central Ohio, Lindsey said.

"We might go canoeing one day (and) then go to the Columbus Zoo or to Zoombezi Bay another day," she said. 

More information about the parks and recreation department's spring activities and summer camps and registration is available at grandviewheights.org.

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