This Season: Almost time to get out of the water in Cedar Rapids

City gradually closing swimming pools for the season

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CEDAR RAPIDS — With temperatures still tipping 90 degrees, Cedar Rapids has closed three of its best places to cool off.

The closure of Ellis, Jones and Jones Pools for the season is in line with a strategy the city has been experimenting with for a few years, said Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Director Sven Leff.

Pool attendance has dipped 30 percent from the last two weeks of July to the first two weeks of August the last four summers as kids gear up for school activities and the largely high school and college-aged workforce scatters, Leff said. Interest can fizzle, too, after a long summer, he said.

“Every year we have a major drop off in August and employee availability drops in August, so we’ve tried different combinations of what we can keep open and where patrons will go,” Leff said.

This year, Bever Pool closed on Thursday, and Ellis and Jones Pools closed on Friday. Meanwhile, Cherry Hill Aquatic Center will stay open until Aug. 28, and Noelridge Aquatic Center will close on Sept. 5, Labor Day. However, Cherry Hill and Noelridge will have reduced hours, notably they will be closed on weekdays after Friday except Aug. 22 and Labor Day at Noelridge.

Last season, the city rotated closures day by day, alternating which of the five pools were open — which seemed to confuse patrons about what was open and wasn’t, he said.

This year, the department decided to close the three, smaller neighborhood pools — Jones, Ellis and Bever — for the season, while keeping open the two biggest and most highly used pools — Noelridge and Cherry Hill — one each on the east and west side. The hope is residents would centralize their aquatic proclivities.

“Those facilities are larger, can serve more people and are more efficient to operate,” Leff said.

Plus, the city can get started on winterizing the three other pools early and save some money, he said.

Crews will be working to drain water, take down diving boards, remove supplies, chemicals and equipment from the site, and secure the facilities for the off-season, Leff said. Waterlines and water heaters may be prepped with an antifreeze agent for subzero temperatures, he said.

“The sooner we can turn off the pumps and heaters and protect the pools at the same time we experience savings,” Leff said, noting the city saves more than $1,700 per day in energy and supplies at the three closed pools.

l Cherry Hill hours will be from Monday to this Friday, 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. for lap swim, 1 to 5 p.m. for open swim, 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. for lap swim and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for open swim. Weekend hours for the rest of the month are 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. for lap swim and 1 to 6 p.m. for open swim, except on Aug. 28 when the pool will close for the season at 5 p.m.

l Noelridge hours are this week Monday, Wednesday and Friday 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. for lap swim, 1 to 5 p.m. for open swim, 5:20 to 6:15 p.m. for lap swim and 6:30 to 8 p.m. open swim. Tuesday and Thursday hours this week are 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. for lap swim, 1 to 5 p.m. for open swim, 5:20 to 6:15 p.m. for water exercise and 6:30 to 8 p.m. open swim. Weekend hours this month and the first weekend in September are 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. for lap swim and 1 to 6 p.m. for open swim. Labor Day hours are 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. for lap swim and 1 to 5 p.m. for open swim.

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