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Hammerheads proceed with ‘plan F’ for season

Hammerheads proceed with ‘plan F’ for season Hammerheads proceed with ‘plan F’ for season
Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]

With the fate of their home pool in jeopardy for another season, the Hammerheads swim team is making contingency plans for 2021.

“We still hope the (Harrison County) Parks Dept. will open Rhoads pool; we have not given up on it opening,” said Katie Forte, president of the board for the swim team that uses the May & Joe Rhoads Memorial Pool in Corydon. “We have not even finalized our practice times. We have plans to meet with Mr. (Matt) Hamblen (aquatics director at the YMCA of Harrison County) at the end of next week to discuss our plan F, as one of our parent board members calls it.”

Discussion with Hamblen will be to make arrangements to rent lane space at the Y in Corydon, similar to what local high school swim teams, as well as the Capital Aquatics swim team, do.

The Rhoads pool was closed for the 2019 season when repair work needed to be done to the bathhouse after a vehicle ran into it, causing damage, and again in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Use of the pool this season is in jeopardy because its bathhouse has been set up as a COVID-19 test site. A memorandum of understanding gives the health department use of the site through June 4. Park officials have said they would need to resume access of the site at least four to six weeks prior to opening the pool in order to get it ready.

The parks department also operates a public pool at South Harrison Park near Elizabeth that is home to the Seahawks swim team. The Seahawks used the Rhoads pool when the SHP pool was closed for repairs in 2015 and 2018. Parks board members have suggested the Hammerheads can do the same but have been met with an unfavorable response.

“We will coordinate with the South Harrison team for one of our two scheduled home meets,” Forte said Monday. “We hope to arrange a three-way meet with South Harrison … at the South Harrison pool with Floyd County.”

She said that meet should not be a problem since it is already on the pool’s schedule.

Forte said the Hammerheads will ask Charlestown, which is scheduled for the other meet, to host the event.

While the parks department board has discussed the fate of the Rhoads pool at various meetings since the beginning of the year, only a brief comment was made about it at the most recent meeting, on March 24, when parks superintendent Larry Shickles said he had received an email from the Hammerheads swim team that it had made arrangements with the Y for practices and with South Harrison for its meets.

Forte said the swim team is still willing to rent space at the Rhoads pool if it opens this year.

“We still strongly advocate for the opening of Rhoads pool, for the sake of the community as a whole,” she said. “… The Hammerheads were looking forward to getting back into Rhoads and back to a new normal after 2020. Had the pool been out of commission due to needed repairs, we would have quickly moved to plan B; but, given that the pool is said to be ready, … it seemed worth the effort for the Hammerheads parents to get together and try to convince community decision makers that opening Rhoads pool this summer was important.”

Forte and others believe there should be a way that the local health department could be supported by relocating its COVID testing site elsewhere. Initially, the Talmage Windell Memorial Agriculture Building at the county fairgrounds was a test site but it was later moved to a vacant building near Ramsey prior to setting it up at Corydon Poolside Park.

While the Hammerheads board fully supports and appreciates the efforts and sacrifices of the health department and Harrison County Emergency Management Agency in addressing the COVID crisis, Forte said, “Preserving and maintaining Rhoads pool should be important, given all the community’s monies that have been invested in Rhoads over the years.”

Forte said she and the board appreciate everyone’s efforts to accommodate the Hammerheads and they understand COVID has changed things.

“But, we want to see Rhoads open, for the sake of the community,” she said.

Shickles did not respond to a message yesterday  (Tuesday) asking whether a final decision has been made about the Rhoads pool for 2021.

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