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Park pool attendance stays steady from 2013

BY CARRIE DILLARD cdillard@paducahsun.com

Attendance at the Noble Park Pool was on par from last year, according to the Paducah Parks Department, but a greater number of families with children took advantage of swimming lessons.

Attendance totals for the whole season from Memorial Day weekend to Aug. 3, the day the pool closed, was 10,028, down by approximately 275 from the 2013 season, said Parks Director Mark Thompson.

Recreation Superintendent Amy Clark said the stagnant numbers were due to cooler weather this summer. According to the National Weather Service, July tied with 1947 as the third coolest on record in Paducah with an average temperature of 75 degrees.

"It was slower, likely because we had a lot of cloudy, 80 degree days," Clark said. However, the pool had fewer closures in comparison to last year, she noted.

Last season, the pool was forced to close because of several incidents of vomit or fecal matter found in or near the pool. Pool staff initiated 10-minute breaks every hour during which all swimmers were required to leave the pool. New rules also stated that all children must be potty trained to use the pool.

Thompson said the breaks eliminated most problems this season.

"We had a couple of days when we closed for fecal matter," Thompson said in an earlier interview, "but it was really a non-event summer."

It was the first year for Friday Family Swim Nights. Clark estimated that anywhere from one to six families attended each Friday night session.

"Now that people know about it, I think we will continue it next year," Clark said, "at least to see how it works for next summer."

Both the family swim nights and the spray pad helped create a "more well-rounded pool for the people we serve," Clark said.

The spray pad was open for only the last two weeks of summer last year, as a test run. This year, Clark said, it was heavily used by families with younger children, ages 2-4.

Clark also saw an increase in the number of participants for swimming lessons.

"Most people sign their kids up for the basic class, learning how to swim, but then they stop," Clark said. "We had a lot more kids this year in the advanced level classes, learning different strokes and diving techniques."

Overall, Clark described this season as calm and family friendly.

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