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Pool reopens as air quality improves slightly

Lifeguards reel in some safety lines at the Ella Redkey Pool in Klamath Falls, which was open for normal summer swimming hours Monday, Aug. 13.

Revenue for the Ella Redkey Pool increased 18 percent between November and December compared to last winter’s figures.

Pool activities and attendance grew following a rough summer, which had fewer swimmers due to continued air quality concerns and pool closures.

City staff announced the increases at a work session Monday, which also highlighted program additions and expectations from 2019. This includes the three-year extension of Everyone Swims, an instruction program for elementary school students that Sky Lakes Medical Center funds annually.

Pool Supervisor Brielle George touched on several popular programs since added to the pool, including Aqua Zumba classes that were initially supposed to end in the summer months.

But those who attended the classes, which often had about 22 people, wanted more.

“We were able to have it all the way through November,” George said.

New activities

George first started as Ella Redkey Pool supervisor in June. Her prior experience includes more than 10 years with parks and recreation in Morris County, N.J.

There, she helped manage more than 38 facilities that had more than 3.5 million visitors annually, she said.

One of George’s biggest goals since arriving has been to increase participation in fall, winter and spring activities. A youth Aqua Zumba and kayaking safety skills class could be added in the future.

Cardio Blast is another popular activity at the pool, with participation increasing about 44 percent, according to George.

The goal is to continue pushing these activities between the winter and spring, which George said could help keep the pool open when revenue dips in the event of summertime air quality closures.

“That’s why it’s so important to push our programs in spring time when we don’t have the challenge of that air quality,” George said.

Swimming lesson expansions

George further highlighted the importance of expanding Everyone Swims for the next three years. At least 200 third-graders in Klamath County and city schools received swim lessons from these programs in the past year. More than 800 children are set to benefit from the next three years’ expansions.

George said this would include students at Triad, Hosanna and others not previously included.

“Drowning is still one of the most common causes of accidental deaths with children,” George said, touching on the importance of these programs.

More information on pool events and ways to get involved can be found online at ellaredkeypool.com.