VANDERBURGH COUNTY, Ind (WEHT)- As Hoosiers are beginning to regain access to activities, those in Evansville and Vanderburgh County lost another one.
The County Commission and the Evansville Parks and Recreation Department announced Tuesday pools will not open for the 2020 season.
This means the summer rec swimming program won’t happen this year. Officials say this was a hard decision to make but for many reasons it was necessary.
“As parks director hardest decision I’ve been a part of,” Brian Holtz with the City of Evansville’s Parks and Recreation Department says
Empty pools won’t be filled this year. That means the sound of kids splashing and having fun at the public pools won’t be heard. Summer swim teams won’t be practicing and tuesday nights will be a lot quieter with no swim meets.
“A myriad and ripple effect of the situation we find ourselves in currently,” Holtz says.
The Vanderburgh County Commission and the Evansville Parks and Recreation Department decided local pools will remain closed for the 2020 season.
“This is solely based on the pandemic,” Holtz explains.
The coronavirus pandemic already forced the opening date for pools back to July. That caused city and county officials to look at how they would handle the reopening.
“During this COVID-19 situation it became apparent and absolutely clear that we could not enforce distancing at the pool,” Jeff Hatfield says.
But beyond social distancing, masks are supposed to be worn in public but swimming with a mask on might not be safe. So they worried about the people having to enforce these rules.
“It’s unfair to our employees to be tasked with enforcing something that’s almost impossible in a swimming pool situation,” Hatfield explains.
Making sure there were enough lifeguards on staff was posing a problem also as programs that offer recertification aren’t opened currently.
They say they know this has been a hard year for everyone and taking this away was something they didn’t want to do.
Brian Holtz with the Parks and Recreation Department says they’re working on new ways to get the community involved by offering programs at the neighborhood parks. He says more information on that is to come but people should also consider the youth sports leagues that are available, like little league.
(This story was originally published on May 12, 2020)