Overland Park’s 5 outdoor pools will stay closed for summer 2020

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — As Kansas fast forwards its timeline to reopen the state in phases, Overland Park has put a halt to the idea of any of its five city pools opening this summer.

The city was weighing a plan this week that would have opened only Tomahawk Ridge Aquatic Center this summer.

But in the end city leaders decided it wasn’t worth the cost and the risk.

That plan would have called for Tomahawk to open July 1 to 80 pool guests at a time. Bluejacket, Marty, Stonegate and Young’s would have remained closed ether way.

People would have to make reservations ahead of time for visits to Tomahawk in 90-minute blocks. Instead of a usual 10-minute life guard break for adult swim, the entire pool area would have been cleared out for an hour for staff to fully disinfect the pool deck. 

But a majority of the council decided the challenges of enforcing social distancing and keeping people safe would have been overwhelming.

“I’m sure a lot of kids in the area are disappointed, but at the end of the day it’s a safety thing and hopefully next summer we won’t have this issue,” Jennifer Brooks said.

“I’m confident there are some very frustrated residents of Overland Park, and I think you’ll find most of the council members are just as frustrated as they are,” Councilman Curt Skoog said. “We are proud to offer our pools as an amenity, and it is disappointing that we aren’t able to do it this year.”

The council vote came a day before Kansas modified its schedule to allow lifeguards to begin the certification process Friday under Phase 2 and pools to reopen as early as possibly June 8 under Phase 3.

The Matt Ross Community Center indoor pool is expected to open later this summer, pending any changes in the Johnson County Recovery Plan.

Privately owned and managed pools are not impacted by the city’s decision but will need to contact state and Johnson County officials about applicable COVID-19-related health protocols.

Johnson County leaders voted on Friday, May 1 to follow Kansas’ state guidelines for reopening.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced on May 19 that the state would move into Phase 2 of the “Ad Astra” reopening plan, which will restrict gatherings of 15 or more people. She said she expects to move to Phase 3 by June 8 and phase out the restrictions as soon as June 22.

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