Paducah’s Noble Park Pool and other summer programs are returning this year, after the COVID-19 pandemic led to many closures or cancellations in 2020.
“Everything will look different, of course,” Paducah Parks and Recreation Director Amie Clark told The Sun on Tuesday.
“Even with openings, we’re restricted by guidelines and that kind of thing. So yes, there will be a pool. Yes, the spray pads will be open. Yes, we will have summer camp, but it’s all going to look different.”
City Manager Jim Arndt noted the city is still following “prudent protocols,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and best practices for Parks and Recreation.
“We’re basically going to be opening up our swimming facilities — with restrictions,” he said. “We’re really excited about that. Trying to inch back to what we used to consider normal.”
Clark pointed out the Parks and Recreation department — by nature — provides programs for the community.
“It was hard for us, from that perspective last year, to not be able to offer any programs or open the pool facilities or anything — our basketball courts, everything was closed,” she said.
“That just kind of goes against our nature of providing services, so we’re excited to able to open it this year. It is looking different. It’s at a less capacity than typically we would open.”
How different will it be?
Clark said Parks and Recreation will increase its sanitization. With the pool specifically, she said the city is looking to do swim “sessions,” so that there is time to sanitize facilities between sessions in the middle of the day.
“We’re dropping our rates to accommodate that because people won’t be able to just come in at 12 and stay until 5 anymore, at least for this summer,” she said. “We are going to be limiting capacity.
“We’re only going to allow 150 in per swim session. We are going to be offering swimming lessons, so that will still happen for families that need swimming lessons, but we will not be allowing private rentals this year.”
Clark expects Noble Park Pool to be open Tuesday through Sunday, and closed Mondays, as usual.
“Tuesday through Sunday, there will be two sessions per day and each session is two hours,” she said. “So, people can come in and swim for two hours, and then we will have everybody leave and we’ll clean the facility, and then we’ll reopen for two more hours.”
The pool typically opens around Memorial Day weekend for the summer season, but the city is looking at a tentative June 5 opening date this year. Meanwhile, Clark expects the spray pad facilities at Robert Coleman Park and Pat & Jim Brockenborough Rotary Health Park to be open May 1.
“We’ll have all the spray pads open and up and running, while we go ahead and try to get the pool open for the first weekend in June,” she added.
The Parks and Recreation department is currently hiring part-time seasonal employees for its summer programs, such as lifeguard, pool attendant, recreation leader and sports official positions. The city’s website has a list of available positions online with links to their respective job descriptions.
“Everything’s at a smaller capacity. We’re not able to do as much as we have before, so we’re not hiring as many people as we have before,” Clark said. “But, we do have spots open and we’re getting applications everyday. We’re starting the interview process and trying to make sure that we have all our available positions filled.”
Clark also gave an update on other planned programming.
There will be four weeks of summer camp offered, she said. It’s held at Noble Park and involves parents signing their children up to participate in summer activities throughout the day, before going home.
“We’re still offering youth leagues — we’re doing youth baseball and youth soccer. We are offering our adult kickball league,” she said.
“We are offering summer camps, and then this year, we’re starting a mobile recreation program. We’re taking recreation to community parks — we’re setting up for one day a week and we’re going to be providing programs in the neighborhoods.”
Clark indicated the exact details regarding the pool and summer programs are expected to be announced by the city later this month.