Coronavirus: Springfield water park will not open; New Carlisle sets opening date

The Splash Zone in Springfield will be closed for the season because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Clark County residents should have at least one option to cool off this summer after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced pools in the state will be allowed to open May 26.

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“The health and safety of our patrons and staff is our first priority,” National Trail Parks and Recreation District deputy director Brad Boyer told the News-Sun in an email confirming the Splash Zone will not open this year. “The ability to ensure the social distancing in and out of the water and consistently sanitizing all public areas make it difficult to open the facility.”

He indicated operating at a reduced capacity could produce a financial hardship for the district.

“Many of the expenses associated with the operation of an aquatic center are fixed and the budget is dependent on an average daily attendance to off-set these costs,” Boyer said. “Residents that have purchased memberships will have the option to keep their pass for the 2021 season or receive a refund.”

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The NTPRD’s parks, trails and other spaces remain open to the public from dawn to dusk with social distancing guidelines in place.

In New Carlisle, mayor Mike Lowrey said that city’s pool will open June 5 “unless some unforeseen problems arise,” while another facility in Clark County has not made a final decision yet.

According to a Facebook page update posted before the governor’s announcement, the South Charleston pool is waiting for guidance from the local health department before determining if it will open.

“We are not certain at this time if we will be able to open at all. Many pools have already announced that they will be closed all season. We will do all we can to open in a manger safe for everyone if at all possible. Watch for further updates. As we know more we will pass it along.”

Multiple attempts to contact the pool were unsuccessful.

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In Champaign County, the city of Urbana and the local YMCA initially announced the Urbana pool would be closed.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused tremendous uncertainty for private and government operations and we look forward to re-opening the Municipal pool in 2021,” YMCA CEO Paul Waldsmith and Urbana director of administration Kevin Brugger said in a joint statement.

However, after DeWine’s announcement last week a post on the city’s Facebook page indicated that decision is being reconsidered: “We will review the State’s guidance once they post it and determine whether we are able to reverse our decision to close the Municipal Pool for the 2020 season once we confirm the ability to safely adhere to their protocols, beyond having chlorinated water.”

The Centers for Disease Control has issued guidelines for pools. Those include disinfecting frequently touched surfaces such as handrails, slides, door handles and chairs, modifying layouts to allow members of different households to maintain six feet from each other and encouraging patrons to maintain six feet apart from non-household members even in the water.

In Ohio, water parks such as the Splash Zone were not covered in DeWine’s announcement pools may open.

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