Sunday, August 23, 2015

A big pool is actually too small by trying to do all things for all people at the same time

Sometimes a big pool can be too small if it is trying to do too many things. I arrived at 9:30 a.m. for the 10 a.m. water aerobics class and was greeted by three Palm Beach County Fire Rescue trucks parked right in front of the pool building. While I was there Sally Welsh was unloading her stuff for the class and you can see traffic backed up behind herand a sheriff car in front of the trucks. It looked like there was a drowning or some other medical emergency at first, but no flashing lights.
I go in to the pool area and both east and west sides of the entire middle section are taken up with fire rescue personnel doing some sort of dive training. Maybe a total of twenty people doing that activity.

Knowing that I wonder why Palm Beach County Fire Rescue couldn't use the turn around area to park and enter through the gate at the south end of the pool. I have a bugaboo about any vehicle parking on the shoulder/bike lane that is clearly marked "No Parking." For an emergency, yes, but for this sort of activity I think that they could have parked elsewhere on the 19 acre property, especially at 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday. It's not like these fellas have any mobility issues.

The swimming lanes, north and south of the middle section were all full with lap swimmers, sometimes two to a lane. The extreme shallow ends were cordoned off. One-fifth of the northern section was for a beginning swimmers class. The lanes are currently in the east/west configuration. It wouldn't have worked at all if they were in the north/south position.

The remainder of the 4.5 ft depth area was for Sally's water aerobics class. She "buys" two lanes as part of her deal with the city; I think her cost is $35 plus parking. There were at least 35 in the class today and it was way too crowded and too shallow to enjoy. Many people were not happy with the situation. Finally, Scott Mies, the new pool manager, opened up another lane to everyone's relief by asking people to move in swim lanes that were already being used by others. Some had to double up. All the while the fire rescue people were still doing their thing in the middle of the pool. The south side of the pool was crowded too.

This comes after the pool was closed for the morning on Saturday, for an ECAC Swim-a-thon. It opened up later on for the public. I was there to exercise and 20 people were around the pool and about 10 people in it. On a Saturday afternoon.

Why fire rescue had to do what they did today and not during the hours the pool is closed to the public? I do not know.

The bottom line is that the pool needs to be open more hours that are friendlier to people's schedule for the 95 workaday world; hours after 6 p.m. if the money is available to make it happen. Additional equipment for strength training may make it more appealing and offer some a workout destination. Do we really need a kiddie pool?

And here again: it is either a situation where there are very few in the pool (3 or 4 people) or a situation where the pool isn't big enough like today. I think the idea of two pools serving two different purposes is a good one. People are concerned about losing an Olympic size lap pool though. That solution might be a larger pool in another location: like another park (Bryant Park?) elsewhere in the city. Some have mentioned the golf course as a suitable location for a pool.