It wasn’t the normal crowded, chaotic opening day of most summers, with dozens of screaming, splashing kids filling the city pool.
But after nearly two months of delays, Frederick residents finally have an open pool.
The city opened its William R. Diggs Memorial Swimming Pool in Mullinix Park Monday, with disinfecting processes and measures to ensure proper social distancing in place.
It was a “completely different environment” from most years, when the city’s pools traditionally open on Memorial Day, said Jennifer Mogus, recreation supervisor for the city.
Along with requiring registration for a 2-hour block of swim time to limit the number of people in the facility for social distancing purposes, patrons this summer will have to bring their own bottled water or sports drinks, and chairs. The pool’s furniture was removed to make cleaning easier, Mogus said.
The reservations are limited to city residents only.
The pool’s opening was delayed first by the impact of COVID-19, and then by a contract that city staff waited to initiate until they had a better idea when the pools would be able to open.
The city’s other pool, the Edward P. Thomas Pool at Baker Park, won’t open this year because of a shortage of lifeguards and an ongoing maintenance project that got delayed because of the pandemic, Mogus said.
After the wait, it felt good to finally get started, said Colin Bower, 16, who marked his first day as a lifeguard on Monday.
He’d been looking for a summer job, and when he saw the opening, it seemed like a good opportunity, he said.
Missy Conner said she had no concerns about bringing her son Caden, 4, out to the pool despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The registration system lets you see how many slots are open, and you can always pick a less crowded time if you want to, she said.
They’d been going to lakes and beaches for the first part of the summer, but that’s more of an all-day commitment, and it has been harder to teach Caden to swim there than in the pool, she said.
The lack of a public pool hasn’t been much of a problem for Susan Knox and her son Jack and daughter Maeve, both 8, Knox said.
She sat poolside while the kids used the water slide and splashed contentedly.
They have a kiddie pool in the back yard and have been going to a YMCA camp on some weekends, she said.
Knox said she wasn’t concerned about exposure to the virus at the pool once she found out about the limits on capacity.
Even with the delayed opening, the plan is to close the pool on Labor Day, Sept. 7, Mogus said.
It’s not quite the season they’re used to.
“But we’re excited about this pool,” she said.