Upper Arlington to open all three pools with limited attendance to start season

Nate Ellis
ThisWeek group
Upper Arlington plans to operate all three municipal swimming pools this season and will allow up to 300 patrons at one time. A year ago, the Devon and Tremont pools were open with attendance capped at 100 before being increased to 150.. The Reed Road Water Park, which was closed last year, also will be open.

The Upper Arlington Parks and Recreation Department plans to operate all three municipal swimming pools this year and will start the season by allowing up to 300 patrons at one time.  

Last year, concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic led communities such as Bexley, Columbus, Grandview Heights, Worthington and New Albany to keep their public swimming pools closed throughout the summer.  

Although attendance at each pool initially was capped at 100 visitors per open-swim time slot, Upper Arlington chose to open Devon and Tremont pools roughly two weeks after the traditional Memorial Day weekend start for the swim season. 

The city kept those two pools open throughout last summer and eventually increased attendance per time slot to 150 people. 

This year, Devon and Tremont pools will be opened again and the city also plans to operate Reed Road Water Park, which was closed last year because health and safety precautions would have rendered its zero-depth entry area and a large play feature in the middle of the pool off limits. 

While visitors will be required to reserve two-hour blocks of swimming time at each facility, up to 300 patrons will be admitted per time slot.  

"We'll be offering open-swim times, swim lessons and aquatics fitness programs, as well," said Matt Leber, Upper Arlington’s recreation superintendent. "What we're looking at right now is to open for the Memorial Day weekend." 

Leber said "early-bird" lap swimming will start at 6:30 a.m. each day at Devon and Tremont pools, and water-walking activities will be allowed at Reed Road Water Park.  

"We are going to have season passes available this year," he said. "There is a reservation system in place. So we'll have a daily option and a season-pass option."  

Reservation and pass information is available through the city's website at upperarlingtonoh.gov. Season-pass prices will range from $127 for an individual to $286 for a family of four, plus $33 for each additional family member.  

Individual season passes for senior citizens will cost $105, or $149 for senior couples.   

Individual daily passes for a two-hour block at Devon Pool will cost $7; the price will be $10 at both Tremont pool and the water park.   

Debbie McLaughlin, parks and recreation director, said the city will monitor pandemic trends in the community and be guided by county health officials to determine if attendance restrictions can be loosened.  

"We're starting at 300 (people per time slot)," she said. "We feel that may be able to increase." 

In addition to the pools, McLaughlin said the city hopes to soon open the fitness center at the Upper Arlington Senior Center.  

Although the senior center has offered a range of programs and services online and via Zoom video conferences, the facility has been closed since March 2020.  

McLaughlin said the city is working with the Ohio Department of Health to determine when portions of the building can be opened but the fitness center, known as Studio 55, likely will be one of the first areas made available.  

"We do plan on utilizing a reservation system," she said. "We're limiting (capacity) to 10 at a time."  

As for other parks programming this spring and summer, Leber said the Northam Park Tennis Complex was expected to open April 24 and the season will run through October. There also will be a system in place to reserve courts through the city's website.  

Summer Day Camps for up to 192 campers will be held, and five "Movies in the Park" events are slated at several different locations from June 11 to Aug. 13.  

Additional "Movies in the Park" details are available on the city's website, but Leber said the city will partner with the Upper Arlington Civic Association to present the series. He said movies will start at 7:30 p.m., rather than the traditional 9 p.m.  

Similarly, seven "Music in the Parks" concerts are slated from June 3 to July 15. The lineups and times for the events are available on the city's website, although some locations for concerts have yet to be determined.  

Leber said the city’s Cultural Arts Division is working to bring back a traditional rendition of the Labor Day Arts Festival in Northam Park on Sept. 6 after the event was canceled last year.  

"We are planning for this summer knowing that the COVID environment is constantly changing and, just as we did last year, we will be planning to adjust our operations as necessary to serve our community the best we can throughout the entire summer," McLaughlin said.  

nellis@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekNate