Big crowd turns out for pool opening

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 25, 2008

FRANKLIN—Nearly 50 kids showed in the first 30 minutes Monday for the opening of the city pool, an event that had been delayed two weeks.

The facility opened behind schedule due to lack of certified lifeguards, something Franklin Parks & Recreation Director Frank Davis said he had never seen before in his career. Davis has been with the city for about 12 years.

&uot;I’ve been handling pool openings since I was in college,&uot; he said.

&uot;I think it was year before last we had a mechanical problem with a motor on the pump (at the Armory Drive pool), but we had never had any problem staffing.&uot;

Friends Marcus Stephens, 13, Keont\u00E9 Flythe, 12, and Kevin Cutler, 13, arrived early on bicycles, eagerly awaiting the cool water.

What did they do to stay cool prior to Monday?

&uot;His cousin has a pool,&uot; Marcus said, pointing to Keont\u00E9. &uot;We spent two days over there.&uot;

Although terribly disappointed, parent Hattie Boone found an alternative to stay cool as well.

&uot;We stayed at home, and sprayed each other with the water hose,&uot; she said. &uot;I also have a sprinkler that turns around, and we ran through that.&uot;

Her three children, Jarod, 7, Jamelia, 14, and Jakeria, 2,regularly come to the city pool. On Monday, the oldest was on a trip with her father and the youngest was at Head Start.

Jarod was busy trying to wipe the sleep from his eyes when he first arrived.

Less than five minutes later, he told his mother, &uot;I’m getting in the baby pool.&uot;

Andrea Hall-Leonard of the Genesis Summer Enrichment Program said the students attend the pool every year and are happy to see it open again.

&uot;We do a lot of enrichment programs throughout the summer,&uot; she said. &uot;This is one of the highlights for them to be able to get into the water.

&uot;It’s a really big deal.&uot;

The trips to the pool are also part of the Health and Wellness portion of the program. The youth get their exercise by walking to the pool from the Workforce Center and are then rewarded by being able to cool off.

Attendant James Britt was also glad to see the facility full of swimming kids, saying everyone gets along and has a good time joking and laughing.

Davis said that he thinks there may be 10 lifeguards working the pool before the summer is done.

&uot;I think (this situation) actually opened up more opportunities for jobs this summer,&uot; he said.

Parks & Recreation offered free passes to the pool on Monday in celebration of what Davis described as &uot;Welcome Back Day&uot; to the facility.

Pool prices are usually 50 cents for the baby pool; 75 cents for ages six through 17; and $1 for 18 and up.