Cardboard boat races are usually one of the end of season celebrations at Indianola's Veteran's Memorial Aquatic Center, but this year, the pool will not open for the summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indianola playgrounds, park restrooms, skate park and shelters will be open Tuesday, June 2, said Doug Bylund, director of Indianola Parks and Recreation, at a city council meeting Monday night.

But the Indianola Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center will not open this season.

Bylund choked up as he outlined the reasons for the decision, which included the challenges of maintaining social distancing, the need to disinfect regularly and the closure of pool features like slides, diving board and shallow pool features. But the biggest concern, he said, is the safety of staff.

“We would be asking lifeguards to jump in the water, grab people and do CPR on them without any of the PPE that our doctors, our paramedics use,” he said. Twenty other pools around the state, including Clive, Winterset and Carlisle, already have confirmed that they will not open their pools.

“Looks like a lot of good decisions,” said council member Greg Marchant.

“Hard decisions,” said Bylund.

Bylund told the council that the sales of season passes are down 68 percent from 2019 and some people already have called to cancel their passes.

Families will get full refunds for any season passes or swimming lessons that already have been purchased, he added, although those refunds could take four to six weeks rather than the two to three weeks that are standard.

“I appreciate it’s a hard decision, but the consequences of not making the right decisions would be hard for the entire community,” said council member Greta Southall.

Indianola Parks and Recreation planning bike helmet giveaway

Softball fields at Pickard and Moats parks will open for practices June 2 and for games and tournaments on June 13, said Bylund.

“Organizers must implement guidance,” he added. “A lot of these organizations that want to have events have already put together waivers for their events. They’re adjusting how they’re going to do their games.”

Concession stands will be closed initially, he added, and when they open likely will sell prepackaged items such as bottled water, Powerade, etc.

The senior center will continue to be closed through June 17, in accordance with Governor Kim Reynolds announcement in May, he said. Other programs will be modified, including adult softball, which likely will begin the week of June 15 and possibly yoga in the park.

Michele Patrick of the Indianola Public Library also outlined plans for its reopening — tentatively set for June 15. “That’s a very tentative date,” she said.”If that is the date it would put us right where the metro is going to be.

“The first step to reopening the building is kind of counterintuitive,” Patrick continued. “It’s to reduce the need so people don’t have to come into the building if they don’t want to.”

Patrick said the library will move its programs online. Last year, she said, the library had 3,200 people attend about 75 programs. That’s not an option this year.

“We will have programming online at least through June and July,” she said. The library will re-evaluate for fall programming, she said.

Once the building is open to the public, patrons will be able to get their items via curbside pickup during regular hours. Currently curbside pickup is offered three days a week.

Other changes will include removing group seating, reducing the number of public computer stations open to the public, and removing toys and games from the children’s library, although games will be available for check out.

Books will continue to be quarantined when they are returned, and Plexiglas shields will be added at the checkout counter, she said. Signage also will be added promoting safety expectations both at the library and in parks facilities.

Some of that signage at parks will let people know that wile play equipment will be available, the parks and recreation department will not be disinfecting it on a regular basis. Bathrooms will be disinfected daily, as usual, Bylund said.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.