Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

C-J Extra: Splish-Splash: Parks & Rec Preparing for Season's Public Pool Plunge

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

C-J Extra: Splish-Splash: Parks & Rec Preparing for Season's Public Pool Plunge

Article excerpt

Memorial Day weekend. For most, it's the official start to the summer season. And summertime, for many, means frequent trips to the neighborhood swimming pool.

For that reason, Dave Allacher, Shawnee County Parks and Recreation aquatics supervisor, and his staff are busy working to make area public pools ready for fun in the sun.

Getting Topeka's swim beach and six aquatic centers -- seven, if you count the new Midwest Health Aquatic Center slated to open later this summer at S.W. 21st Street and Urish Road -- up and running is an effort that's been going on for several weeks.

The facilities include Shawnee County North Family Aquatic Center; Blaisdell Family Aquatic Center; Garfield Family Aquatic Center; Hillcrest Family Aquatic Center; Oakland Pool; and Rossville Community Swimming Pool.

We caught up with Allacher at the Shawnee County North Family Aquatic Center, where he shared the process of getting public pools ready for water-lovers.

Q: What does it take to get the pools ready for swimmers?

Allacher: We start getting toilets and sinks back together in mid- March. Once we're certain we're past any freezes for the year, we turn the water on and repair any leaks or other problems.

By the first of April, we're checking pumps and replacing any motors that may have gone out in the offseason. Mid-April, we're washing pools, cleaning away all the dirt, grime and leaves. Then, about the first of May, we're filling pools with water.

Q: It sounds costly ...

Allacher: It can be if any of the motors have to be replaced. But we have a budget for getting the pools ready, and we usually come in under budget, barring any major issues.

Q: Have there been any surprises getting ready for the season?

Allacher: We do see some surprising things sometimes. Occasionally, we'll see a nice little snake when we're cleaning out all the leaves. The more unusual events take place once the season starts.

Q: Such as?

Allacher: Every now and then, someone will try and sneak a pet in for a swim. One year, and I don't know how she managed it, a lady brought in an eight-course meal -- enough to fill two picnic tables. …

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