In a four to one vote at the May 18, 2020, El Dorado Springs City Council meeting, the council voted to not open the Virginia Ryan Strain City Pool this summer.
After a lengthy presentation by 20 year pool manager Shannon Koger, Mayor Cory Gayman was the only vote to open the pool saying, “I hate to take something away from the kids.”
Koger had done extensive research into what pools in the area were and were not opening. The closed list included Nevada Walton Park, Rich Hill McGennis Youth Centre, Butler Aquatic Center, Pittsburg Aquatic Center and Bolivar Aqua Zone. She said the Fort Scott was undecided, Osceola undecided, and Appleton City would meet on May 20 to decide. On the open list were Lockwood, Greenfield, Lamar Aquatic Park, Clinton Artesian pool and some Springfield pools.
Koger said she felt the restrictions placed on pools by the Covid-19 pandemic were extensive and she lacked personnel to be consistent. She also didn’t want to place her life guards, most of whom are teenagers in a position of responsibility that they might not be able to maintain. She said that everyone entering the pool grounds would have to have their temperature taken, social distancing was a must, and disinfecting everything several time a day was also a must. Only pre-wrapped food could be sold at the concession stand and people had to stand up to eat. It was recommended that life guards wear masks. She also said that according to her calculations, there could only be 30 people in the pool at one time. Koger also mentioned that the required increased chlorination of the pool would cost the city an additional $6,000.
Council Luster commented, “It’s perhaps more prudent to take away one year than one life.”
Present at the meeting were Mayor Gayman, Councilmen Brett Entrikin, Jim Luster, Nick Bland and Nathan Murrell, City Manager Bruce Rogers and City Clerk Kandi Baldwin. There were numerous other people in attendance including the new Utility Director Joe Robertson.
Rogers said that the Summer Ball Program had enough people sign up for teams except for the minor girls. He said the season would start June 1 with the plan to be done before July 4. Players and attendees would be asked to police themselves for social distancing. He said the bathrooms would be cleaned more and all precautions would be taken to keep everybody safe.
Rogers also said that City Hall was ready to open.