SHELBY — Swimming will happen in Shelby this summer after the Shelby Park Board voted to open Seltzer Pool for the 2020 season.
The Park Board met in a special session on Tuesday afternoon specifically to discuss opening the pool. In a 4-1 vote, with board member Geoff Allen voting against, the board voted to open Seltzer Pool by June 20 at the latest.
It's a reversal of the decision made at the May 11 meeting, when the Park Board voted to close the pool for the 2020 season.
The pool's second chance came just three days after voting to close, when Gov. Mike DeWine announced May 14 that pools can reopen on May 26 if they are regulated by local health departments. This doesn't include water parks or amusement parks, sites that will be addressed in the near future.
DeWine noted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised there is no evidence the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas or water play areas. Safety protocols for pools will be posted soon.
"I guess we have to rethink our decision here," said board president Dave Downs to open Tuesday's special meeting.
When voting to close the pool, board members cited concerns including proper social distancing, frequently touched surfaces such as pool rails, slides and tables, and limiting attendance to meet state guidelines on gatherings.
"I'm really surprised, none of us assumed that (DeWine) would open the pools because of social distancing," said board member Dave Keinath on May 14.
Social distancing was a main point of discussion again during Tuesday's special meeting. Board members discussed the possibility of limiting pool attendance, strategic placement of pool seating, and sanitizing stations.
Beth Conrad, director of environmental health, was confident the Shelby City Health Department could work with Seltzer Pool to preserve the health and well-being of the community.
"The swimming pool on a yearly basis does a great job, they always do well with pool inspections and inspections on the snack area. They've always been great to work with," Conrad said. "I don't have a problem with anything if they think they can open. Everybody's doing the best we can with what we have."
Feedback from the Shelby community signaled support for the pool's opening this season. Downs shared four letters from community members on Tuesday all in favor of opening the pool, and pool manager Jordan Nelson said he'd already received 15 to 20 rental requests.
Seltzer Pool was originally scheduled to open full-time from May 29 to Aug. 16. According to Shelby parks superintendent Jerry Marshall, it takes approximately 30 days from the time the park decides to start filling and preparing Seltzer Pool until it's ready for the public.