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Fairmont Aquatic Park readies to open

FAIRMONT — Grab a towel and your sunscreen. The Fairmont Aquatic Park opens Wednesday for an abbreviated but much anticipated summer season.

On June 8, after weighing COVID safety concerns and citizens’ overwhelming requests to open the pool, the City Council unanimously agreed to do so — from July 1 until Aug. 28.

Betsy Steuber, aquatic park manager, had about three weeks to assemble a staff to handle the front desk, concession stand and lifeguard duties. The facility employs about 70 seasonal personnel, with about 20 of them on duty during operating hours.

“Fortunately, we had a lot of staff that held out for us to open. We have quite a few returning staff and a few new hires,” she said.

Steuber also had to redo some paperwork.

“Season pass applications were already completed, but because of not being operational for a month, prices have been adjusted to reflect the shorter season,” she said.

Pool hours are noon to 8 p.m. each day. Daily admission is $6 for individuals 2 years of age and older. Season passes, available during the aquatic park’s operating hours, are $50 for students; $65 for individuals; $120 for families up to five members, with a $15 charge for each additional member.

The pool also will be open for early morning lap swim, lifeguard training, water aerobics and deep water walking. Information about these activities is available on the city’s website — www.fairmont.org — and selecting “Aquatic Park” under the “Citizens” drop down menu or by calling the pool at (507) 238-9292.

Also available on the website is information on swimming lessons.

“We are offering private and semi-private swimming lessons,” Steuber said. “Private lessons are one-on-one instruction, with one instructor and one student. Semi-private lessons would be individuals that are just a couple of years different in age and one or two swimming levels apart, two students with one instructor.”

Because of the ongoing COVID threat, some safety protocols will be in place.

“We are encouraging social distancing. We are encouraging mask wearing if you’re not in the pool. We will have hand sanitizer available at various locations throughout the site,” Steuber said.

“We’re going to try to arrange our deck furniture in accordance with social distancing requirements. However, we’re not prohibiting patrons from moving furniture, nor are we directly monitoring social distancing. We are not the COVID cops. We are encouraging people to follow the rules and guidelines themselves.”

One rule that will be strictly enforced is that of capacity. Because of COVID guidelines, the pool’s capacity has been reduced to 334 people, a standard that will be followed on a first come-first served basis.

The pool will undergo additional cleaning and sanitizing daily. Deck furniture will not be sanitized between uses, but wipes will be available for those patrons who wish to wash down their area.

“This is a whole new ballgame for us, but I think we’re pretty set for the summer. The most important thing is we just want to keep everybody safe, our patrons and our staff,” Steuber said.

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