In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, tonight the Pierre City Commission decided not to open Pierre’s outdoor pool for the 2020 swimming season.
“We hate to go without an outdoor public pool this season, but public safety is the priority,” said Pierre Parks and Recreation Director Tom Farnsworth.
After much information gathering and internal discussion, Farnsworth said that staff recommends the outdoor pool stay closed for the summer because of a variety of pandemic-related operational complications.
“The outdoor pool, by its very nature is a gathering spot,” said Farnsworth. “Asking our lifeguards to enforce social distancing at the pool is a very challenging request. Our staff felt we should not open and error on the side of safety.”
Pierre isn’t alone in its decision to keep its public pool closed for the summer. Of the state’s ten largest communities, eight have decided to leave outdoor pools closed for the 2020 swimming season.
Although a commission decision, it received support from the City’s Parks and Recreation Board.
“It’s a very difficult choice,” said John Simpson, Parks and Recreation Board Chair. “Given the circumstances, keeping the pool closed is the prudent thing to do.”
Pierre’s outdoor pool is 90-plus years old. Construction for a replacement pool is scheduled to begin next spring.