NEW DETAILS: Coronavirus, finances to keep West Carrollton pool closed; jobs lost

Wilson Park Pool will not open in 2020 due to restrictions involving the COVID-19 pandemic, the city announced today. FILE
Wilson Park Pool will not open in 2020 due to restrictions involving the COVID-19 pandemic, the city announced today. FILE

A popular summer recreation option has been cut this year in West Carrollton and with it, dozens of seasonal jobs, as city officials have decided against opening its pool.

COVID-19 health concerns and financial issues exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic are at the heart of the move to keep Wilson Park Pool closed this year, according to city officials.

“This has been a difficult decision, as we know the pool is a very popular part of our community,” West Carrolton City Manager Brad Townsend said in a release. “But, we took a holistic approach to determining what was best for our citizens both personally and fiscally.”

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Wilson Park Pool typically employs about 40 seasonal workers, according to Heidi Van Antwerp, West Carrollton’s public relations director.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine had earlier announced that Ohio pools could reopen May 26 as part the state’s lifting of restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

West Carrollton City Council members had talked recently about whether to open the pool this year and opted to hold off on a decision until after DeWine’s announcement.

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Because of projected losses in income tax revenue due to business shutdowns and job cuts because of COVID-19, West Carrollton has already slashed its budget, and the pool is not a self-sustaining operation, Townsend said.

The pool’s costs are subsidized by the city to keep rates affordable for residents, city officials have said.

The city’s core mission is the health, safety and welfare of the community, with a priority on providing safety and other basic services, West Carrollton officials said.

Opening the pool includes a myriad of tasks, including prepping and maintaining the pool, personnel hiring, training, scheduling and managing the site, according to the city.

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In response to the Ohio Department of Health’s mandatory operating guidelines as well as the requirements to “maintain social distancing and additional sanitizing practices indefinitely,” not opening the pool was the best choice, according city officials said.