Memorial Pool reopens May 23

by Charles Gerian

The City of Blackwell is reopening as part of Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt's plan following the coronavirus pandemic, which began in March.

Part of that plan is making sure the Blackwell Memorial Pool will be up and running for the summer.

“We still plan to open on Memorial weekend,” Tobi Wood, manager of the Blackwell Memorial Pool, said. “In accordance with the state's plan, we should be able to open, and then in June, it should be business as usual, which would be nice in a year like this.”

Wood said officials currently plan to open the pool May 23 with 18 lifeguards employed.

Cory Hanebrink, emergency management director for the City of Blackwell, confirmed that the Memorial Pool will open at half-capacity until June 1 in accordance with state guidelines.

Blackwell Streets and Parks Department Supervisor Chuck Anderson assembled his crews at the Memorial Pool May 6 to begin cleaning and preparing the pool.

Jeremy Raby, a public health specialist with the Kay County Health Department, said that all licensed bathing facilities can be reopened as of May 1 as long as they reduce their bathing loads by 50% until the state is at “Phase 3” of the Reopen Oklahoma plan, which will follow two weeks after Phase 2. Phase 2 is implemented if coronavirus cases remain “manageable” for 14 days following the launch of Phase 1.

The other two stipulations are that facilities must increase their cleaning and sanitizing frequency for commonly touched surfaces such as door knobs. Officials must also keep pool chemicals within required ranges.