|Clarkdale pool opens May 30|
|Written by Staff Reporter|
|Friday, 27 May 2011 00:07|
Starting Monday, May 30, Clarkdale residents can splash and play under the summer sun at Clarkdale Pool again thanks to generous donations from more than 25 local philanthropists who gave more than $60,000 to get the pool open, according to Clarkdale Parks and Recreation Director Dawn Norman.
“It is the hidden gem of the Verde Valley,” Norman said. “When you’re at the pool, the scenery there is so enchanting — it’s surreal to know that people have been swimming in this same location for a hundred years.”
Gates to the historic pool open for a four-hour free swim starting at 12:30 p.m. on Memorial Day, an opening day celebration hosted by Clarkdale Elite Swimmers.
The Clarkdale Chamber of Commerce plans to sell hamburgers, hot dogs and other treats for the occasion.
Regular hours commence Tuesday, May 31, with the first of two adult lap swim hours, one at 9:30 a.m. and the other at 4:30 p.m. Between adult swim hours are scheduled swimming lessons, from 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and public open swim, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.
The pool, located at 19 North Ninth St., stays open for these hours Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays each week. The pool can also be leased for special events, Norman said.
“It’s available for your very own two-hour private party or group rental,” she said. “Daylight reservations can be made for Thursday through Sunday based on staff availability.”
Preparations to open the pool began weeks ago. Pool staff needed to be hired and systems checked, she said.
The pool passed a federally-required drainage test with flying colors, a sign the pool is in good working order and a relief to parents concerned their child might accidentally become stuck to a drain. Testers ruled the pool was safe and compliant with federal requirements.
Lifeguards tried out April 28 to work at the pool. In addition, a pool manager was hired to perform regular chemical tests and ensure water treatment feeds are operating properly. There is also vacuuming, usually once a week, depending on the wind, Norman said.
Norman said she hopes to pack the pool to its capacity of 120 swimmers every day it is open in 2011, but the pool has not been at capacity in recent years.
“This pool has been here the longest,” Norman said. “For many people who grew up in the Verde Valley, it’s the first place they got a job.”
In addition to honoring family traditions and instilling a strong work ethic, pool jobs teach youth how to be responsible working people, she said.
“I don’t mind bragging about what we do to spend time with our pool staff, to make sure they are the best they can be,” Norman said. We take it very seriously. This is their first job. They leave with job skills they will apply in later life. I believe we have the best pool staff in the state.”
A contractor involved in a renovation of the pool and a local metal processing company together pledged $12,500, followed by about 10 more businesses that pledged between $1,250 and $2,500, to get the pool open for the 2011 swim season. More than 15 businesses and individuals also made donations of $500.
“Thanks to key sponsorships, spaghetti dinners, bike tours, auto shows, hamburgers flipped, and a communitywide effort, the Clarkdale Pool will open for three days a week in the 2011 summer season,” Vice Mayor Richard Dehnert wrote on the town’s website.
The town continues to pursue sustainable ways to reduce pool operating costs and increase pool revenues to ensure it is able to continue making the pool available to townspeople in the future.
“We know that our work is not done,” Denhert wrote. “We are exploring numerous options, including energy efficiency upgrades to help offset our utilities costs and special events to generate more revenues.”