After the final recreational swim was enjoyed at the Riverbank Community Pool on Monday, Aug. 31, the pool closed for the summer.
“I wish we could keep it open longer but attendance has died down and the lifeguards are back in school, many leaving town,” stated Director of Parks and Recreation Sue Fitzpatrick. “I will try to hire some guards next year that can remain with us through September.”
City officials opened the pool later than usual this year, after figuring out how to adapt to new requirements for masks and social distancing brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Throughout the summer, there was time for swim lessons, open swim hours and lap swimming throughout the day, even though there was a decline in the number of swimmers.
As remote schooling began for the new school year, officials adapted the open hours to begin after normal school time and extend a little longer in the afternoon.
The pool remained open in August as the area was bombarded with 100+ degree days, but the swim season was officially ended after close of business on Monday, Aug. 31.
They had 10 lifeguards along with swimming instructors at the pool this summer with 250 kids that participated in swim lessons. Fitzpatrick added that there was an average of about 20 kids per day during recreational swim which was at their limited capacity due to COVID-19.
The City of Riverbank’s Parks and Recreation offered the community a variety of camps through the summer as well that had a total of 79 youngsters.
“This is with everything at 50 percent capacity or less to keep things as safe as we could,” noted Fitzpatrick. “Lap swim was very popular this last month or so as people just want to get out and get some exercise.”
During the summer Parks and Recreation typically entertains the community with a variety of events like the summer concert series and movies in the park. Due to COVID-19 they were unable to host the summer entertainment.
“We are disappointed that we had to cancel our summer concert series and movies in the park as well as our swim team but as soon as things are safe we will get everything back in operation,” expressed Fitzpatrick. “It has taken a long time to build our programs but we are confident that we will get them back to where they were prior to the COVID-19 situation.”
Jacob Myers Park has remained open with about 50 percent limited capacity; however, it normally closes its gates by noon as it reaches that capacity.
“We have dozens of walkers per day and people use our new dog park a great deal,” remarked Fitzpatrick. “The community for the most part has been very good at helping us stay open by social distancing and understanding our limitations.”
News Correspondent Ric McGinnis contributed to this story.