June 16, 2024

Operation Pool committee holds meeting

The ‘Operation Pool’ committee had its second meeting Tuesday, March 7 at The Gathering Place to continue discussing the future of the Greenfield swimming pool.

Since several individuals attend the meetings, it was decided to break down into sub-committees to be able to focus on multiple areas of the project. The four sub-committees include the public communications team, finance team, fundraising team and the community input and design team. These committees will meet outside of the monthly ‘Operation Pool’ meeting and will report their progress on a monthly basis.

According to Deb Parrott, acting secretary/chair for the ‘Operation Pool’ committee, there were several topics of discussion; however, the biggest topic of the evening was lifeguards.

“To put it blunt, there will be no pool without staff to operate it,” she said. “A lifeguard’s job is not always as easy as it may look, there is more to it than just getting a tan. Along with the long hours on the stand, the chores in the bathhouse, the cleaning of the facility, etc., you may also be called upon with the daunting task of saving a life.”

The committee understands that as a lifeguard, you can be faced with many difficult decisions and tasks that may be new to you. The committee is working with the city council to try to alleviate some of these burdens by hiring an adult manager who would oversee the daily operations and assist the lifeguards when needed with the business and possible disciplinary aspects of the of the everyday job. The city is working on a job description for the manager position to include responsibilities and duties. They hope to have it completed in the next few weeks.

Salaries for the lifeguard and manager were discussed along with certification and re-certification costs. The committee is working on ways to reduce some of the certification costs for the applicants, which at this time will most likely be done through donations from the public. For those who are interested in assisting with this cause, tax deductible donations can be made at FNB in Greenfield, through the Greater Greenfield Community Foundation (website is greenfieldiafoundation.org, or their mailing address is GGCF, PO Box 13, Greenfield). As for pay, the city budget has been set for the year and has little if any wiggle room.

Carol Woosley was on hand to inform the committee that during her time on the city council, a feasibility study was done on the pool by Burbach Aquatics, approx 8-10 years ago. At that time, it was determined that the pool had deteriorated and was in need of repair. The city had earmarked funds for other projects and didn’t feel there were extra funds to put into the pool at that time.

Parrott and Kristi Schneider, who are each former Greenfield lifeguards, said that even though it has been several years since they were lifeguards, they remember their time at the facility quite well.

The baby pool was drained, cleaned and sanitized each and every day before opening and the bathhouse was cleaned and sanitized each and every night after closing, they remember. Mondays and Thursdays were deep cleaning days. Staff were required to be at the pool by 8 a.m. before Red Cross lessons. The bathhouse was deep-cleaned, trash was picked up from the deck and yard, the pool was skimmed for debris and scrubbed clean of any dirty rings. The 12 feet area was vacuumed, with one lifeguard donning an air mask and weighted belt in order to reach the bottom of the pool.

All levels of Red Cross lessons were offered, including beginners to senior life saving (lifeguard training). The guards on staff were all W.S.I. (Water Safety Instructor) certified, allowing them to teach every class, including certification and re-certification classes. Red Cross lessons were offered daily at 9, 10 and 11 a.m. Each Red Cross session lasted two weeks and there were multiple sessions each summer depending on the number of kids that signed up. Private lessons were available from 12:00 – 12:30 p.m. and between 5 and 7 p.m. weekdays and on Saturdays.

Being a lifeguard was a full-time job in the early 80s. The guards sometimes worked 60+ hours a week and depending on position, earned between $2.65 and $3.35 an hour. The job was taken very seriously and rules were strictly enforced. Punishment was served by sitting on the bench and after three times on the bench in one given day, the individual was kicked out for the rest of the day.

“Parents were generally supportive of discipline measures and we dealt with very few complaints,” Schneider said.

Members of the ‘Operation Pool’ committee say they’ve observed that many, many others in the community are passionate about the pool project.

“Greenfield needs a pool. Kids need to learn how to swim. At least the basics,” Parrott said. “And not only that, surrounding communities that come to use our pool help generate revenue as they shop at our local businesses”.

Anyone willing to join a sub-committee or attend monthly meetings should note the next one is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 4 at The Gathering Place.