Merriam to open new community center to the public July 4, following COVID-19 delays

The outdoor pool at the new Merriam Community Center will open when the Ad Astra Reopening Plan enters the phase out portion, or no sooner than June 22. City staff believes this may coincide with the opening of the community center as a whole, but there is a chance it might not. Photo courtesy of Merriam.

The city of Merriam Monday evening said it plans to open its new community center, 6040 Slater Street, to the public on July 4. Charter members can access the new center starting June 29.

The new community center was originally set to open June 8, but the pandemic created delays.

City staff recommended opening the center’s outdoor pool during the phase out portion of the Ad Astra Reopening Plan, which will begin no earlier than June 22. This step has no Kansas Recreation and Park Association restrictions, according to city documents.

Assistant City Administrator Meredith Hauck said staff is nervous about enforcing distancing guidelines in a pool space, which is why they recommended waiting to open until restrictions are lifted.

“We want it to be an enjoyable experience for everybody there once we open,” Hauck said.

Lifeguards are hired and will be trained prior to the opening of the outdoor pool, said Assistant City Administrator Meredith Hauck. Photo Courtesy of Merriam.

Outdoor pool capacity will not be limited due to COVID-19, but may come to a “one in, one out” situation as a result of occupancy limits, she said.

The indoor pool won’t open until September 5 because of a coronavirus-related supply chain issue with the pool tiles and final construction of the indoor pool will need to take place while the rest of the facility is already open, she said.

Below is the updated opening schedule for the Merriam Community Center, which is already underway:

  • June 1: Part-time and seasonal employee orientation began
  • June 8: Equipment delivery to the community center began
  • June 15: The city begins to move into the new building
  • June 22: Staff training begins in the building, and facility tours are available to the public
  • June 28: A flag lowering ceremony at the Irene B. French Community Center
  • June 29: A flag raising ceremony at the new community center, which will begin a soft opening to charter members
  • July 4: The community center opens to the public

The Merriam City Council Monday evening also agreed to move forward with the bid process to receive estimates for the proposed demolition of the city’s old community center building, the Irene B. French Community Center, 5701 Merriam Drive.

Additionally, city staff provided details on proposed charter and monthly membership discounts since the building did not open on June 8 as planned.

Charter memberships will remain on sale through Labor Day, and any annual membership bought through then will be considered a charter membership.

Merriam Community Center is on track to open July 4. Photo courtesy of Merriam.

Charter membership perks include access to the building on June 29 — in a limited capacity — and memberships will not begin until Sept. 7, providing charter members with a potential 14-month membership for the price of 10 months.

Monthly memberships are currently available to purchase and will begin July 4, with a 50% discount for July and August (or until the indoor pool opens to the public). Summer memberships will not be available, although monthly members can set an expiration date when signing up. Until Labor Day, day passes are available only to Merriam residents.

The City Council did not have to take any formal action, but did give city staff a “thumbs up” for the updated opening schedule.