EATON — For those looking to cool off as the summer heat swells, the Main Street Aquatic Center is open for business this season, though it may look different from past years.
Guests may notice some additional signs recommending social distancing when possible and encouraging guests to help keep a clean environment. As part of opening the pool for the season, Preble County YMCA Executive Director Paul Schreiber said they’ve made an increased attempt to up their cleaning regimen for the pool.
“As with most places, you’re going to see more signage out there. Like most places, we struggle with this a little bit, but we’re trying to spread people out a little bit, and as you walk in, you’re going to see signage actually on the concrete walkway there asking people to practice social distancing,” Schreiber said. “There’s more cleaning, so as people start to use lounge chairs, and obviously locker rooms and whatnot, we’ve definitely upped our cleaning regimen, where we’re going in and we’re cleaning much more often than we have been before.”
The capacity at the pool is limited to 250 guests, with 50 of those spots reserved for those with memberships once the pool has reached 200 people. Once capacity reaches 250 people, guests will be asked to wait until someone else has left to enter.
Despite the restrictions in place, Schreiber said attendance has been better than expected since the pool opened to the public on June 1. On a few occasions they have even been forced to turn people away.
“You can imagine with some of the hot days that we had this year, we’ve had to turn people away because we actually keep a tally at the front gate as people come in and then as they leave, we basically subtract from that tally,” Schreiber said. “There’s been actually six days where we’ve reached our maximum capacity and then we told people that they have to wait until someone leaves, but they are very understanding that the maximum that we allow in there is 250.”
The decision to open the pool for the season was made with local residents in mind and determining what would be right for them, and Schreiber said the community has been very appreciative of the City of Eaton’s determination to open despite other pools electing to close for the summer.
“It has been very eye-opening in terms of the community really appreciating the fact that the City of Eaton has decided to open their pool when so many other cities made the decision [to close],” Schreiber said. “And I understand it, to not open because of financial reasons and whatnot. I know so many other communities, local communities around us, decided that they wouldn’t operate those city municipal pools, and we had many, many meetings with the city and the YMCA about doing what’s right for our community. If we could do this in a safe manner — let’s do this.”
With many local pools deciding not to open for the summer, Schreiber said this gives the city an opportunity to support not just the local community, but other communities that don’t have a pool to flock to on these hot summer days.
“I think having the hot weather that we’ve had this summer, we had a couple days that were kind of pushing high 80s, low 90s with higher humidity, that helped us, but the biggest thing is there’s been so many other community pools that have not opened in the area,” Schreiber said. “If you go through the parking lots any day where it’s a fairly hot day, you’re gonna see a lot of license plates from Indiana, so we know that people are coming over from Richmond because Richmond did not open their city pools. Then we’re able to serve not only the Preble County community, but the surrounding communities as well.”
Weather permitting, the pool operates from noon-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and noon-6 p.m. on Sunday. More information can be found at http://cityofeaton.org/aquatic-center.html or on the Facebook page at Main Street Aquatic Center.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @BradenMoles