It’s not a new policy in Lawrence, but it’s still disappointing that officials haven’t figured out a way to keep the city’s only outdoor swimming pool open at least through the Labor Day weekend.
Even though there is bound to be plenty of good pool weather left this year, hours for the Outdoor Aquatic Center will be cut drastically this week, when classes begin in the Lawrence public schools. On Thursday and Friday, the pool will be open after school from 4 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.; next Saturday and Sunday, the pool will return to its normal hours of 1 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. But after next Sunday, the pool will be open only from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, for lap swimmers. That means the pool won’t be open after school or next weekend and will close for the season after the annual Pooch Plunge, which is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31.
We assume officials have all the same reasons they’ve offered before for this early closure: the number of swimmers drops off when school starts, and it’s hard to find enough lifeguards and other staff to keep the pool open. But it’s hard to believe there wouldn’t be sufficient demand to keep the pool open for the last two weekends of August, and staffing doesn’t seem like an insurmountable problem if the pool managers plan ahead.
City taxpayers made a sizable investment in the Outdoor Aquatic Center, and it’s too bad to see that facility being less than fully utilized at the end of the summer.