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June 14th, 2021

adventure bay slideA young patron enjoys the water slide at Adventure Bay last summer. With the summer approaching, City of Liberal staff has been working to get Adventure Bay Water Park and McCray Pool ready for patrons. L&T file photo/Elly GrimmELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

With warmer weather coming up, many will be heading to their local watering hole to cool off. With those facilities looking to the influx of patrons, City of Liberal staff is preparing the Liberal pools for the upcoming summer season. 

“Late last month, we had our slide people come in from Colorado to touch up on some things,” Recreation Director Matt Quint said. “They touched up on some areas with the pools and slides like cracks and things like that, they sanded everything down and put on a fresh gel coating to ensure everything was safe and smooth. All of the seams were re-caulked, and some of the play areas like the pirate ship also had some touch-up work done. Then in the coming weeks, we'll be doing some more cleaning stuff and power washing the pools and refresh the paint in some areas, so definitely a lot of cleaning up. Opening day with both facilities is May 29, so we're only a few weeks away from that.”

“Currently, we've recently started our second lifeguarding class – we had one not too long ago and certified nine new lifeguards, and we'll be certifying 12 with our next class,” Adventure Bay Director Daniel Minde added. “We'll have a total of about 32 lifeguards this year, and that's between both Adventure Bay Water Park and McCray Pool. We'll also have CPR classes coming up for our guest services and concessions staff as well as our other employees that need the CPR training so if we do have an incident, everyone is trained at the same level and has the same knowledge. There are a few things that will be different about this year, I'll have a speaker from Centennial, Colo. whose son was a drowning victim, so he'll come and talk to our staff near the end of May, and we're really excited about that. My returning lifeguards will also be doing a bridgeover program so they can be certified to work at McCray Pool since it's 9 feet, and their current certification doesn't go that deep. We'll also be doing a water safety instructor course so we can get our swimming lessons up and running, and the lifeguards will also be going through a lifeguard boot camp this year, which is new.”

Minde and Quint also expressed excitement about the addition of McCray Pool under the City of Liberal wing. 

“I'm really excited because of the amount of things we'll be able to do. We'll be moving some swim lessons there, like our adult swim lessons,” Minde said. “We'll be having three adult nights, and those will be at McCray Pool. Having a pool for this side of town is extremely important, now not everyone has to go all the way to Adventure Bay to go swimming. The admission we have set is really affordable, it's $2 per person. I believe McCray Pool will remain really busy, I actually plan on staffing that pool with two lifeguards and a supervisor, so the staff will definitely be there. With parties, we'll rent McCray Pool for $300 for three hours, which is a really great rate. It'll be really interesting to see how things go with McCray Pool because the city has never run it before. There's so much on the north side of town already, including Adventure Bay, and having something like this on the south side of town can only be a boost for that part of town. That's also part of the reason for the big push to have the Recreation Center in the south side of town, and we realized we have help provide activities and facilities for the entire community. McCray Pool is a community pool, and it always was, but the difference is it's now open to the full public. The pool is great for the certification stuff, there's a nice fenced in area where people can sit, and some other good features. We see McCray Pool as an extension of what we're able to offer.”

“When the McCray Pool group contacted me about taking the pool, I started talking with Daniel and we both were just thinking 'This is an awesome idea,'” Quint added. “The location is great since it's pretty much right next to the Recreation Center and there will be plenty of people keeping an eye on things. The pool itself is also in great condition with only a few touch-ups needed, the McCray Pool group did a great job maintaining it and keeping everything in as good of shape as it is. The programming and everything else, and having a pool to access for people on the south side of town, that's a huge, huge boost. And then with future projects, there are a lot of space over there to grow what we want to do. We've talked about putting in a splash pad, maybe a small slide, things like that. There are so many options, and we're really excited about what the future could hold.”

With opening day for Adventure Bay Water Park and McCray Pool being only a few weeks away, both Quint and Minde said there are some different feelings among the staff about that. 

“To be completely honest, I'd say the stress level is pretty high, but a lot that is also excitement, so it's a mix,” Quint said with a chuckle. “Every day, we're talking about pool stuff and updating our to-do lists of what needs to be completed before opening day.”

“And when you look at the to-do lists, a lot of it is small things, but some of things take a little extra time to fully have put in place. It's one thing when you have one facility with four pools, it's another when you have two facilities with a total of five pools to get completed in two different locations,” Minde added. “There are changes to be made with staff and a lot of other logistical matters to keep in mind. Then you also have to make sure whatever plans you come up with will actually work, and I believe they will, and I think we'll be able to have both facilities open safely for the community. We have a lot of things already in place, and there are a lot of things we're still talking about. The excitement level is high, the staff is ready to get going with all the training that will be coming up, they're all totally motivated and want to learn, and we've got some great lifeguards going through training right now.”

With summer approaching, Quint and Minde offered encouragement for the community to visit the pools during the summer.

“A lot of people have been stuck at home for a long time, and we're thinking it's going to look like a beautiful summer this year,” Quint said. “We're excited about everything we have to offer – Adventure Bay is really fun, the staff is friendly, and there will be a bunch of fun activities out there with the movie nights and all those things. Come out and bring your family and friends and enjoy everything we'll have. I'd like to extend a big thank you to the community, there's no way we could do what we do without the people and the support we get. And with S.W.A.T., if anyone's interested in that, they can get ahold of me or Daniel at the Recreation Center to talk about joining that, and that's a great opportunity for young swimmers.”

“Last year, we were all worried about how things would end up because of COVID-19 and all of that, but we didn't have any positive cases come from the water park, which we were really happy about. This year, since we're back to normal operations, I would expect our numbers for this year to be higher, and with the safety concerns, we do disinfect every hour, and we have hand sanitizer stations throughout the park. We'll be doing the same thing with McCray Pool. I've definitely become more safety-conscious in that regard, but the measures we're taking really aren't that major. We'll also have water aerobics coming back, our swimming lessons are coming up soon, and if anyone knows someone who could lead water yoga, let us know so we can include that. If the community has any ideas about things we could do, don't hesitate to get ahold of the water park or the Recreation Center, we're all about listening. If there's a community fundraiser we could help with or anything like that, we'd love to help. We want to always look forward and not just keep everything the same. We're here to serve the community and if we don't hear from anyone, we don't know what they're thinking or what ideas they have.”

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