Pool stayed afloat despite pandemic

Cheyenne Boone/The Herald
People swim at the Jasper Municipal Swimming Pool in Jasper on July 29.


JASPER — Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — and the safety restrictions that were put in place because of it — numbers at the Jasper Municipal Swimming Pool didn’t dive completely off the deep end in 2020.

“I think we did pretty good, really,” Ken Buck, the city’s park director, said in a Wednesday phone interview. “Real happy with the way it turned out. Happy with the kids that worked up there. They really abided by the rules, and I know it was hard on them, but they did exceptional all year.”

Total, the pool pulled in $63,512 in revenue, which was about equal to what the location brought in during the 2018 season, and around $10,000 less than what came in during 2019. Around 14,000 guests came to the spot in 2020 — roughly a thousand fewer than in 2018 and 2,000 fewer than in 2019.

Still, Buck said he was happy with how this season went.

“I think it was just that people were happy that some facilities were open,” Buck said when asked why he thought the local pool still did as well as it did this summer. “And being in the water with the chlorine and everything like that, they felt it might have been a little bit safer.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, evidence suggests that COVID-19 cannot be spread to humans through most recreational water. Proper operation of these aquatic venues and disinfection of the water with chlorine or bromine should inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19, reads a page on the organization’s website.

In addition to masking personnel, spacing out chairs, disinfecting surfaces extensively and deep cleaning periodically, the Jasper pool capped the number of guests allowed inside at one time to 50% of its full capacity — or 300 people. It also closed an hour earlier each day than it would during a typical summer.

Buck pointed to two normally popular pool offerings to explain the revenue differences between 2019 and 2020. Swimming lessons were not offered at the site this year, and the number of pool parties that took place there was significantly lower than in 2019.

Even with all the changes in place, Buck credited the staff for the facility’s run this summer.

“I am really glad we had it open,” Buck said of the pool. “I think a lot of people were happy with that, too.”

On the whole, Buck said all parks department facilities were used heavily this summer. Buffalo Trace Golf Course has pulled in huge numbers during the past two months, and the Parklands of Jasper is welcoming lots of visitors, too.

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