The city of Loogootee has joined a growing number of communities that will not open their municipal swimming pool this summer. Mayor Noel Harty announced his plan to pull the plug on any pool activity this year Tuesday.
"The big issue is that there are five pages of guidelines that have been put out for communities looking to open a pool," said Harty. "It basically came down to we would not have enough manpower on hand to do all of the cleaning at the rate required under those regulations."
Harty says he really wanted to open the pool this summer. He had even hired Steve Belcher to manage it.
"We could not hire enough staff," said Harty. "Once the splash pad and the slide opened, we would have to sanitize it after each use. We didn't even have enough job applicants to take on that much work. There is also a question about how many people would come to the pool given the current health situation."
Harty called the decision to pull the plug on pool operations this year a one-time thing.
"I think next year we will be back and operating on a normal schedule," he said. "This pandemic is just a terrible situation. This decision is all about safety. If someone were to go to the pool and contract the coronavirus that would be devastating. We have been fortunate in Martin County that we have had very few COVID-19 cases. Our numbers have been good. Why tempt that by opening the pool?"
The decision by Harty came shortly after a similar announcement by Washington Mayor Dave Rhoads that WaterWorld of Washington would not be opening this summer.