The Latonia Water Park/Splash Pad
Parks & Rec closes books on successful 2021 pool season
with plans for a bigger, better 2022
COVINGTON, Ky. – Each drop in autumn temperatures is pushing the 2021 summer pool season further back in the rearview mirror, but Covington’s Parks & Rec staff are both reveling in the success of the season and making plans for next year.
“It was a very good summer, especially given the uncertainties of the pandemic,” Parks & Rec Manager Ben Oldiges said. “We had a lot of kids swimming, we kept everybody safe, and we offered some fun programming.”
At the most recent meeting of the Covington Board of Commissioners, Oldiges both reviewed this year’s summer swim season and discussed improvements the division hoped to make for 2022.
Covington has three water facilities: Olympic-sized pools at Goebel Park near MainStrasse Village and Randolph Park in Eastside and the zero-depth Latonia Water Park/Splash Pad at the Bill Cappel Youth Sports Complex.
All were free to Covington residents who signed up for a pool pass. Pools were open noon to 6 p.m., seven days a week, from June 12 to Aug. 8, except on days with stormy weather.
- Memberships: 1,275 households containing 4,469 individuals registered for free pool passes. Those members secured 11,908 passes for guests.
- Attendance: The average daily attendance at the sites was 84 at Randolph, 66 at Goebel, and 28 at Latonia. But those numbers were skewed downward by the rainy and cold weather in August. On one day early in the season, for example, collective attendance reached 439.
- Employment: Whereas many pools around the country had problems finding lifeguards, Oldiges said Covington did not, thanks to aggressive recruiting by contractor SwimSafe Pool Management and publicity from the City. And about 90 percent of teenagers who worked this summer lived in Covington, he said.
- Safety: Across the three locations and 58-day swim season, the City had only five “incidents,” including two water rescues. Only once was EMS called, and that incident actually didn’t involve the pool operation itself, Oldiges said.
- Programming: 42 kids took swim lessons, free lunches were served on weekdays, and the season ended with a dog swim. “Programming wasn’t as robust as we would have liked, but that was intentional because of the increasing COVID numbers,” Oldiges said.
- Programming: Oldiges said Parks & Rec hoped to offer expanded swim lessons next summer, as well as more “dog swim” days and fitness programming for senior citizens. Staff will also look into whether it can organize swim teams and competitions, like the pools held many years ago before the swollen Licking River destroyed the then-Rosedale Pool.
- Facility improvements: Already, work is underway to rebuild the restrooms at Randolph Pool. In addition, Oldiges said Parks & Rec hoped to “rubberize” the bottoms of the pools, which are currently made of concrete, and add furniture and shade. He told the Commission that more extensive work will be required in the coming years to stabilize the slope on the west side of Goebel Pool, which is threatening to slowly slide down the hill.
“After being forced to close our pools in 2020 because of the pandemic, we were excited to have them open this summer for Covington’s youth to enjoy,” Oldiges said. “But I think we will do even better next year.”
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