Flandreau’s Aquatic Center is helping kids cool off and stay active after opening last week for the first time in two years.
The pool was closed all of last year because of Covid precautions, last offering swimming in 2019.
The pool was busy after opening on May 30, despite a last-minute maintenance issue that the pool staff are fixing, said Manager Michelle TenEyck.
“It’s been packed. I’ve never had an opening week this busy ever. It’s time; everybody wanted the pool,” she said.
Mothers and their smaller children waded and helped them down the frog slide on a recent day, while pre-teens played with a ball and took trips down the big slide.
“We missed it a lot last summer,” said Tessa Mason. She played with her son Titus Sundermeyer, 3, and her friend’s daughter, Taylor Witte, 3.
When TenEyck was finishing lifeguard training before opening, some in her staff of 24 noticed that the grates where the water returns around the edge of the pool were shedding fiberglass particles. If someone walked, leaned on them or hung on with their arms or hands, the particles could stick to their skin.
Rather than delaying opening day until the grates can be painted with a product that will basically resurface them, she opened to the public. The peeling issue is something other pools have experience and fixed, too.
Some parents complained that their kids got the particles on their skin. TenEyck said to remove the prickles from skin, she recommends a hot shower and scrubbing with a loofa sponge.
Lifeguards have been reminding patrons not to use the ledge to boost up or hang out. Instead swimmers can use ladders or the zero-entry access to the pool.
TenEyck was able to fill her staff needs, after a year of hiring no employees and has gotten everyone trained and certified.
Closing the pool for a year was hard on the facilities, and there are long-term maintenance needs, as well, TenEyck said.
“When you don’t use something for a year, you are going to have some issues,” she said. The staff and city workers have had to fix other items in order for the pool to open. Despite the issue with the grates, she wanted to make sure residents could use the pool early in the season, which has turned out to be important while temperatures crawled well into the 90s.
“I chose to open and not delay the people,” TenEyck said.
Staff will spend at least this week and maybe longer painting the grates with a product that they have been waiting to receive, she said. The pool will stay open during that time.
While the pool staff work through fixing the grates, she is asking that parents remind their children to stay off the grates on the sides of the pool. “We need everybody’s cooperation to keep their children off the walls.”
The pool is open for open swim from noon to 5 p.m. weekdays and 6 to 8:30 p.m. nightly, except on Wednesdays and Sundays when it is family swim. Saturday hours are noon to 5:15 p.m. and 6 to 8:30 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 5:15 p.m. with family swim starting at 6 p.m.
TenEyck also has had to remind parents who accompany their small children that no alcohol and smoking is allowed on the pool premises. At least one patron in the first week failed to follow that rule and was asked to leave.