Mountain Recreation hopes to open Eagle pool by late June
Meanwhile, registration is open for summer camps and sports programs
After two solid months at home, local families are likely longing for a break from all that mandated togetherness.
So there’s good news from Mountain Recreation as youth day camps, sports camps and team sports options will begin in June. Adult softball leagues are also slated to start next month. And the cherry on top is the rec district does plan to open the Eagle pool this summer.
But it hasn’t been easy to figure out how to offer recreation programs in these COVID-19 times. According to Mountain Recreation’s Scott Robinson, every option has to be thoroughly vetted to make sure social distancing and other COVID-19 protection protocols can be met.
“I am really impressed by the efforts or our staff, who have had to look at every single program and rewrite a criculum for it,” Robinson said.
Robinson said, “Is the Eagle pool opening this summer?” is the No. 1 question he hears out in the community. Mountain Recreation believes the answer is yes, but district officials can’t yet commit to an opening date.
“We feel confident from the new directions that are coming out from public health and the CDC that we can operate a pool in the post-COVID-19 world,” Robinson said.
But it will require extra effort and there will be new restrictions in place when the Eagle pool opens.
“It’s not going to be like the movie ‘The Sandlot’ where all the kids in town are in the water,” Robinson said.
Instead, math will determine pool occupancy. By taking the square footage of the pool area and dividing it to allow 6 feet of separation, 32 people can use the facility at one time. Mountain Recreation is still developing the guidelines, but it’s likely that reservations will be required and pool visits will have a limited duration to allow more people to use the facility.
Additionally, Mountain Recreation plans to carve up the day to allow adult-only lap swimming and swim lessons in the mix.
Robinson also noted that it takes some time to get a large community pool up and operating. It’s not simply a matter of filling it with water — equipment and filtration systems need to be checked and the deck area has to be prepared. All that work takes weeks to complete and typically the job starts as soon as the ice rink closes for the season. With the rink closing right as COVID-19 hit, staff has only recently been able to focus on opening the pool.
Even though it will be a shorter season with extra operational legwork for staff, Robinson said the Mountain Recreation Board of Directors believes it’s important to open the Eagle pool.
“The mental health and community health benefits of being able to open that pool is going to be phenomenal,” Robinson said.
As Eagle County transitions to the blue phase of its COVID-19 response, more adults are emerging from their homes and returning to their workspaces. As that happens, Mountain Recreation is launching its summer Rec Kids day camp and various sports camp options.
Rec Kids is a Monday through Friday, state-licensed child care program for kids ages 5 to 12. Parents can choose attendance days based on family schedule. Programs will be offered in Gypsum and Edwards starting June 1 and online registration is now open.
The 2020 Rec Kids program will be smaller than normal to comply with COVID-19 guidelines. According to Robinson, at both Gypsum and Edwards, Mountain Recreation will offer two pods each, with 10 kids and one counselor per pod.
“We are starting small to see what the demand is,” he said.
That philosophy is also being applied to Mountain Recreation’s summer sports camps and registration for the various options is now open. The district’s T-ball, baseball and softball leagues will start an 8-week season June 22 and potential players should be registered by June 1 to ensure team placement and a jersey.
Robinson encouraged parents to add their child’s names to the waitlist if a program is full. He said Mountain Recreation is closely following reservation numbers to gauge demand and may offer additional programs if there is a need.
For local residents who crave their time out on the diamond during the summer months, Mountain Recreation’s Adult Softball League is a go. The season will run June 9 through August 26 at the Eagle Sports Complex and registration is open now. Men’s league is available Tuesday evenings and Co-Rec is available Wednesday evenings. The league welcomes players age 18 years and older.
“Our sports guys are telling us there are teams from over in the Glenwood Springs area registering because we are one of the only programs running in this part of the state,” Robinson said.
Fitness programs and workout reservations at the Gypsum Recreation Center will continue, Robinson added.
“We have been really impressed and pleased with people using the rec center,” Robinson said. “People are following the rules. Everybody is wearing their masks and wiping down their equipment.”
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