Pools Close Down As Heat Arrives

Posted at: 08/26/2013 11:11 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- When the hot weather comes, the Austin Municipal Pool is usually packed with kids and parents enjoying some fun in the sun, all while staying cool.

But on Monday, when temperatures reached the mid-nineties, the pool was quiet.

The gates were locked, the concessions closed, and much of the water, drained.

The pool season ended last Thursday, actually staying open a few days longer than originally anticipated.

But officials said it had to close because just like the hot weather, there are certain things they just can't control.

“Our guard staff goes away,” said Kim Underwood, director of Austin’s Park, Recreation, and Forestry Department. “A lot of them are college kids, and if they are not college kids they're in high school and that's the sport they're in, so we lose our staff."

But Austin isn't the only pool sitting empty these days.

Pools in Rochester, Albert Lea, and St. Ansgar are also already closed, meaning the only way for most locals to cool off is to hit the beach.

“We ain't got nowhere else to come except here to the beach,” said Rusty Smith, who brought his two sons to the Fountain Lake beach on Monday night. “The pools are closed and summer, I guess, finally gets here when it's supposed to be fall."

Fountain Lake in Albert Lea was busy on Monday night and will likely be just as busy the rest of the week as parents look to keep kids active and cool before the school year begins.

“It makes it tough on the people, but what else can we do?” Smith said. “I think when we get weeks like this they should stay open."

Officials said pool season is only about eight or nine weeks long, and they said despite poor weather, attendance remained strong throughout the summer.