The frog at Adventure Bay Water Park prepares to be cleaned in preparation of the upcoming pool season. Recreation Director Matt Quint said there is a lot to be excited about for this summer at the pool. L&T photo/Elly Grimm

ELLY GRIMM

   • Leader & Times

 

Warmer weather is upon the area, which means people will be making their way to local pools and other watering holes.

As Recreation Director Matt Quint tells it, Liberal’s Adventure Bay Water Park is getting ready for its seasonal visitors.

“Adventure Bay Water Park will open Saturday, May 25 for the community, and the hours are the same as in the past,” Quint said. “We will have some new leadership with Ismael Carrillo taking over as the pool's manager. Daniel Minde stepped down after serving in that role, and he's doing quite a bit of good in the community on his own, so Ismael will be stepping in to that role, and we're really happy to have him given his experience as the Liberal High School swim team coach and knowing and being around as the assistant manager the past couple of years. We want to thank Daniel for the amazing job he did in running everything, and we all wish him the best in everything he does in the future, and we're just really excited about the upcoming season!”

With the influx of visitors expected, Quint said there is a lot of work to do.

“We've started cleaning out the pools and pulling leaves out and getting some equipment and chemicals ready to go for when everything actually starts getting filled up. The beach chairs will be coming out soon, as well as the awnings, so we're doing that preliminary cleanup to get everything really ready to go,” Quint said. “We've got some new signs that will be going up and we have some other routine cleaning and maintenance to do, like with the pump house. It's a lot of behind-the-scenes work as far as getting all the equipment and everything else ready to go. We've been doing some of that work in the past couple weeks, and some other City departments have been helping us out, and it's definitely a lot of work getting everything ready to open the water park, so that extra help is great. We're getting all of that going, and then the Adventure Bay staff gets hired on a little later. The staff is actually doing their training with CPR and other emergency situation training, so everyone's getting hired in and getting certified, and there's more lifeguard training coming up. There's just a lot of that behind-the-scenes work going on people might not necessarily realize happens before we can officially open the water park – they see the pool filled and see everything cleaned up and maintained and see the final product, but there's so, so many little tasks that lead up to all of that.”

Quint said the excitement for the upcoming season has spread to the pool’s younger workers.

“For a lot of our young staff, this is their first job, and I really enjoy watching them learn more and more as the summer goes on and seeing them be so willing to learn everything they need,” Quint said. “It's also a great lesson in responsibility and time management because they learn they have to be on time for their shift, they learn there are certain tasks they have to do every day while at work, etc. I've had multiple people tell me their first job was at Adventure Bay Water Park, and it's great being part of that tradition.”

Quint also talked about the happenings with McCray Pool.

“Steve Carroll has been the lead on a special project to put in a splash pad in the area where McCray Pool currently is. McCray Pool is an older pool that requires more and more maintenance as time goes on, and we also have to hire additional staff to help keep that running, and there were some minor issues with that,” Quint said. “The pump house at McCray Pool is very old and is in constant need of repair, animals have made nests in it, and overall, it's just time for it to be replaced. We're excited about the splash pad project, I know the designs are going to be released soon for the community to look at, and I think the community will ultimately end up loving the splash pad. With all of that, McCray Pool will have to be closed down due to that project. I know a lot of people have a sentimental attachment to that pool, and it's been a great place for the people who use it, but it's definitely served its purpose while it's been around, and it's time for it to be retired. There's another splash pad project that will be going in one of the other parks in town, which I think will also be great.”

With McCray Pool having been part of the community for so long, Quint said there are certainly some mixed feelings about its closure.

“When that community group approached the City of Liberal and the Recreation Department about taking that pool over due to the maintenance and other work becoming too much, I was super excited to do that because we didn't want to see the pool close and I thought it would be great for that part of town,” Quint said. “When we took that facility over, it took a lot of work as far as maintenance and updating all the insurance stuff and finding people to actually staff it, and all of that. The first couple years under our umbrella, McCray Pool wasn't used quite as much as we expected, but then when people figured out it was truly meant to be for the entire community, the membership picked up, but ultimately, again, it's just become too much to be taken on, and it's time for it to close. It is sad since it's been part of Liberal for so long, but I feel like when people see the splash pad designs, they'll come around and be really excited.”

Quint said this summer should feature quite a bit of fun for Liberal families at the pool.

“In talking with Ismael and doing some brainstorming, I know he loved the movie nights we did, and since those went over so well, we're going to do a couple movie nights this summer as well for the community,” Quint said. “Another main goal for us for this year is to do more night swims – we've heard from many people who have said along the lines of 'I don't get off work until 5/6 p.m., but the pool closes at 7 p.m., so I don't have time for a swim after work.' We want the community and their families to be able to come to the water park and enjoy themselves, and those night swims are a great way to do that because it's in the evening, when the weather isn't so hot, and our new lighting at the park should help greatly with that. Once we start those up, I feel like those will end up being really popular.”

This summer is also the perfect time to either join the swim team or take some swimming lessons, Quint added.

“The Piranhas swim team is starting right now, they're practicing a couple times a week at the Seward County Community College pool, and we're very thankful for that indoor facility so we can use it. They'll move to Adventure Bay for practices when the park officially opens up, and we're still taking sign-ups. Anyone wanting to be part of the Piranhas team can get in touch with the Recreation Center at (620) 417-8150 or send us a message through our Facebook page, which is called Liberal Recreation Department, and we'll be happy to give you all the necessary information,” Quint said. “With the swimming lessons, we're excited about that because those are what really get children started with the fundamentals of swimming, and we offer every level from beginner to basically junior lifeguard. There are four sessions of swimming lessons, and each session goes for two weeks. But I do have to warn parents, if they want to get their little ones into the earlier levels, go ahead and do so because those are always pretty full, so get signed up sooner rather than later. Everyone should learn AT LEAST the basics of swimming, which is bobbing and treading water to stay afloat, because you never know when such a situation will occur. It's just a general safety matter to know how to survive in the water, and that's why we talk about the importance of swimming lessons so much. The earlier levels cover the basics and it's about level three when they start learning the forms and techniques and all of that. We even have adults who take our beginner classes because they never properly learned to swim, and we can offer that for them.”

Overall, Quint said, it should be a great season at Adventure Bay Water Park.

“I always enjoy pool season, it's always a great time. It takes a lot of time and work and stress, but it's great seeing the community use and enjoy Adventure Bay Water Park and all the amenities there like the water slides and the lily pad floats and everything else,” Quint said. “It's just always great seeing families enjoying themselves at the park in the summer, and that's what we're all about. We'd love to see everyone at the park, and we have season passes and similar offers, so if you don't want you and your family to be couch potatoes this summer, Adventure Bay Water Park is well worth the visit. We're really excited for the summer to get here, and I can't wait to see everyone come out to the pool and have a great time!”

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28th May, 2024 - 2:58
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