MONROE — The Monroe Municipal Pool will likely see use this summer, albeit with caveats. In following with COVID-19 pandemic guidelines from the “Badger Bounce Back” plan put in place by Gov. Tony Evers, the Center for Disease Control and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the Monroe Parks and Recreation board agreed to send its plan to open the pool to the Monroe Common Council.
Park Board is recommending to City Council the opening of the swimming pool June 13th following the pool plan.
“This is a Phase 1 recommendation,” said Josh Trame, Monroe Parks and Rec forestry supervisor said. “This is something that, should we get to that next level, we can reevaluate.”
The proposed plan would open the pool June 13 to Monroe School District families only.
“We’d like to … only allow people from the Monroe School District. We feel we should give the first choice to the people who live and pay their taxes here,” said Marge Klinzing, Parks and Recreation director. She added that people from outside the district could use the pool with someone from within the district.
The pool capacity would shrink to just 93 patrons in the large pool at one time and 15 in the wading pool popular with small children, down from 977 total capacity. The capacity limits are based on square footage inside the pools. Trame said that the largest single day in 2019 was 538 patrons, with an average of 300 open swim users each day. “By doing three time blocks in our plan, we would still get to our average daily attendance,” he said.
Parents in the wading pool area would not be able to sit down and let their child wander, instead they are required to walk alongside their children to follow social distancing guidelines.
Trame said that pool chairs would not be available, but that patrons could bring their own for around the large Olympic-sized pool. The basketball hoop and slides would not be used as well, and paths would be made around the pool to allow for foot traffic and social distancing. Lockers would be off-limits, though showers would be available prior to entry but not after. All patrons would exit out the north gate instead of back through the locker rooms.
“Less touch points,” Trame said.
The concession stand would also be closed, and the Monroe Area Swim Team will not have a season this summer. The pool also won’t hold special event days.
Klinzing said there will be swimming lessons, though for levels pre-K to 3 a parent will be in the water with the student while the instructor is on the pool deck.
Klinzing also said season passes will still be available, citing one mother who didn’t want to worry about sending cash with her children when they attend. However, Klinzing noted, there would be no refunds should plans change and the pool gets shut down.
Budget-wise, Trame and Klinzing said that staffing would be trimmed as well. Klinzing said that five lifeguards would be needed per shift instead of nine, and that the guards would work in set groups to mitigate the chance of cross-contamination.
Open swim would also be reduced to an hour and 45 minutes, three times a day times, with time set aside after each session for disinfection of the grounds. Trame said that the CDC has indicated there is no evidence the disease spreads through treated water. Chlorine and bromine would be used to disinfect and should inactivate the virus in the water.
Trame said the department is looking into using signupgenius.com to reserve use of the pool, which would help ensuring capacity levels as well as any COVID-19 tracking that may come up. Reservations could also be made by calling the department. Patrons will only be able to use the pool for one block per day.
In other matters, the board:
● Agreed to rename the new Twining Park South Shelter in honor of the late Paul Klinzing, who led the Parks and Forestry department for 38 years before he died in 2018.
● Noted that playground equipment, shelters and ball diamonds are all open after the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling to shutter the state’s “Safer at Home” order. The batting cage nets at Twining Park are not up, and the restrooms won’t open until early June. Trame said water fountains will not be turned on this summer.
● Heard from Trame, who said the Spanish War cannon outside of the pool needs to be either refurbished or moved. There are sharp metal edges on the underside that need to get cleaned up. There is little interest to move it to the Green County Historical Museum or the Veterans Memorial Park northwest of the city based on available space. Another potential spot for relocation could be Twining Park near the jet.
● Trame informed the board that the Green County Leaders have stopped taking donations due to COVID-19 for the proposed splashpad at Twining Park.
● Trame and the Green County Leaders will be planting 18 trees to honor the 18 members in the 18th year of the program, likely on the southwest portion of Twining Park where several ash trees were removed last year. The planting will likely happen in October.