PDT Staff Writer
Portsmouth Mayor James D. Kalb says that, because of a shortage of personnel, the original opening date of McKinley Pool, June 1, has been delayed.
“The city of Portsmouth has worked diligently to ensure the opening of McKinley Pool for this summer season. All maintenance and construction was completed on schedule. However, the city did not get enough employment interest to fill the positions needed to operate,” Kalb said.
He said the city ran an ad in the Portsmouth Daily Times Sunday, May 10, asking for applications for the positions of lifeguards and pool manager, and as a result the city received three applications, and hired a pool manager and two lifeguards, one of whom has resigned the position to accept another employment opportunity.
Kalb added that the city has been in contact with the Aquatic Center at Southern Ohio Medical Center, which has agreed to host a class for certification of lifeguards.
Kalb said the city would be footing the bill for the training.
“There is no way we could have opened without the proper security in place,” Kalb said. “One or two lifeguards just isn’t enough to allow them to have a day off and a break and everything. You can’t open the pool and not have a full staff.”
He said it is his hope the citizens of Portsmouth will understand the city is doing everything within its power to get the pool open.
“The water is ready. The water is beautiful. Everything is working. We have new equipment down there — new recreation equipment — ready to go,” Kalb said.
The city worked during the off-season to make all needed repairs and add new safety features to prepare for the June 1 opening, only to come up short of safety personnel.
“Our goal is to have the pool open and operational by the 15th of June,” Kalb said. “Again, the city of Portsmouth has exhausted all efforts to (meet) an earlier opening date.”
Portsmouth City Service Director Chris Murphy said in 2008 the pool did not open until the end of July or the first of August.
“It was the late passage of the CIP (City Improvement Project), and then bidding a project and trying to get things started with it and getting it finished up,” Murphy said. “A lot of people wanted to know why we didn’t temporarily fix it, spend money to patch it and paint it, then do it after the fact.”
Murphy said the decision was made to do the job completely one time rather than patch and do it again.
FRANK LEWIS may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.