Lenexa is planning to open Indian Trails Aquatic Center, one of its three outdoor pools, as well as the indoor pool at the Lenexa Rec Center no sooner than next week.
The earliest the pools can open under health and safety restrictions due to COVID-19 is June 8, when the state moves into phase 3 of the Ada Astra Plan. City staff prepared a list of expectations for pool staff and Lenexa residents, the only patrons allowed at the pool this summer.
Similar to plans for the Thomas A. Soetaert Aquatic Center in Shawnee, the opening of Indian Trails Aquatic Center in Lenexa comes with additional health and safety measures such as social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting regimens and a limit on capacity.
Logan Wagler, deputy director of parks and recreation, said that with positive feedback from the city council, staff began in March to brainstorm ways to open at least one of the city pools this summer. With lifeguards already certified at the rec center, Wagler said it should take about a week to prepare staff and open the pool.
“Most people were thinking we probably won’t even open pools this summer, and we thought if the decision comes that we can, we want to open at all costs,” Wagler said. “For us, access to a swimming pool is very important to our community. In a lot of ways, it’s a rite of summer for kids to go jump in the pool, learn how to swim, those kind of things.”
Cap on number of people who can attend at any given time
City staff reported that Indian Trails has a seasonal attendance of roughly 24,000 visits. Normal capacity is 1,147, but during this season, staff will only allow 300 patrons at one time. Wagler said capping attendance at 300 gives 100 square feet per patron in the water.
Patrons are not allowed to wear masks while in the water, but staff encourage everyone to wear masks when on the pool deck.
Mandy Danler, recreation superintendent for aquatics and customer service, said staff may arrange a special hour for day camps to utilize the pool, in order to assure social distancing for patrons.
Pool staff will remove all deck chairs, but patrons are encouraged to bring their own. Additionally, pool management added social distance monitoring and cleaning on a rotational basis and as additional duties for staff and lifeguards not on guard duty. Staff may add other restrictions as necessary, Danler added.
Indian Trails will close for half an hour from 4 to 4:30 p.m. for a deep cleaning, Danler said. A list of guidelines and expectations is on the city’s website.
On average, Lenexa subsidizes about 44% of operational costs for the Indian Trails pool each year. Typical revenues are about $126,000 for the season, and expenses average about $190,000.
Danler said staff expects to increase the subsidy to about 55% of operational costs.
Lenexa will continue selling pool memberships which are good for the 2021 season as well.
The pool season ends Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7.