Rhoads pool season in ‘holding pattern’
Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]
The COVID-19 pandemic caused local public swimming sites to be closed last summer and may continue to impact at least one of Harrison County’s two pools this season.
During the Harrison County Parks board’s last meeting, on Feb. 24, the board said the May & Joe Rhoads Memorial Pool in Corydon is in a holding pattern as the location is still being used as a COVID-19 test site.
While board members did not know the exact date testing would halt at the site, they said the pool can’t be prepared for this year’s swim season until the health department vacates the property. Four to six weeks is needed to prepare the pool for opening, it was said.
Three women, representing two swim teams in the county, were at the meeting to ask about use of the pool this summer.
The Rhoads pool was also closed during the 2019 season when repair work needed to be done to the bathhouse following a vehicle running into it and causing damage.
When asked if all the necessary work had been completed, David Hussung, filling in for parks superintendent Larry Shickles who was in quarantine following exposure to a person who tested positive for the coronavirus, asked them to forward the list of work they knew needed to be done to the parks office.
Parks board members offered the use of its other pool, located at South Harrison Park near Elizabeth, as an alternative if the Rhoads pool can’t open this year.
“Bear in mind, the South Harrison (swim) team came to the Rhoads pool” when the South Harrison Park pool was closed for renovations a few years ago, said board member Scott Fluhr.
The 30-plus-year-old pool was closed for part of the 2015 season for repairs and shuttered again in 2018.
The South Harrison Seahawks’ coach said they lost “a lot of our team” because of that and they are still working to build up their numbers.
It was estimated that the Hammerheads swim team, which uses the Rhoads pool, has about 80 to 100 participants; at tops, it has had 120 swimmers. The pool is also used for swim competitions by the swim team, bringing in teams from the region.
Greg Reas, the county’s Emergency Management Agency director who joined the parks board this year, said he anticipates the COVID testing to be over by June.
However, that time frame may not allow for the pool’s opening.
“But no one really knows,” Reas said. “COVID’s turned everybody’s life upside down.”
Teresa Sutton, who chairs the parks board, said, “We haven’t forgotten you. We’re trying to accommodate everyone.”
The parks board will meet in special session this evening (Wednesday) at 7 at the Harrison County Discovery Center in downtown Corydon.