By Shereen Siewert
Wausau’s three municipal pools will remain closed until at least July 1 to adhere to the Badger Bounce Back Plan put in place last month by Gov. Tony Evers, but whether they will open at all in 2020 remains in question.
Pools were set to open June 6, but the state would need to be in Phase two of the governor’s plan before opening. City and County Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Jamie Polley told members of the city’s parks and recreation department that even when pools do open, the number of patrons allowed will be limited to adhere to state rules.
Polley said she consulted with officials in Weston and Rothschild who are also grappling with what to do about plans for their own facilities.
“Do you push it off with the hope that you can open for a limited about of people?” Polley said. “In our opinion if we don’t open the pools by July 1, we can’t financially or feasibly open them with the dollars we have to get them up and running.”
Polley said whether the pools open at all depend on when Wisconsin reaches milestones specified in the governor’s plan. In phase two, the stipulation is no more than 50 people in any one area, Polley said. With lifeguards and other necessary staffers for admission, cleaning and other duties, entry would be limited to about 35 people in the pool at a time.
But even the July 1 date is in question based on conversations between Polley and the Marathon County Health Department. Health officials say it is “highly unlikely” the state will reach Phase Two by the end of June.
“Our staffing is probably the biggest issue,” she added.
Based on those factors, the committee voted to postpone a final decision on whether to open one or all pools this summer, but will do so no later than June 2. A special meeting could be called prior to June 2, depending on outside factors.