BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission voted to close the Upshur County pool for the 2020 summer season during their weekly meeting Thursday.
Talking by teleconference, the commission opted to keep the pool closed for the season due to the uncertainty caused by COVID-19. Commissioner Sam Nolte pointed out the county would have to advertise and hire employees with the potential of not opening at all, depending on the social distancing rules imposed by the state.
“I think you make a very good point,” commissioner Kristie Tenney said. “It’s an unfortunate decision to make, but for the protection of the citizens, it may be in our best interest to close for the 2020 summer season to the public.”
Tenney also noted that people are currently not able to receive lifeguard training or renew certifications right now.
“Typically, we close when school goes back in session, which would put us roughly around mid-August,” Nolte said. “As a majority of our employees are either high school or college students, I just don’t know if the timing is right, or if we would have enough time.”
Commission president Terry Cutright said he spoke to the maintenance supervisor and even if the pool does not open, it will still require some maintenance.
“I’ve been talking to the maintenance supervisor,” Cutright said. “If we don’t open, we still need to fill it up and keep a minimum of chlorine — and not worry so much about the pH I think — but we need to keep the chlorine at the minimum to keep algae from growing in the pool.”
Cutright asked what the commission should do about the pavilions that are typically available to rent.
“The pavilions we could play by ear according to what we are instructed to do by the state and federal government and try to follow those guidelines,” Nolte said. “There may be some guidelines for social distancing, and we would just need to make sure that if we were to rent them after things have eased up that everybody would follow those guidelines.”
Tenney pointed out that pool employees were typically responsible for the cleaning and upkeep of the pavilions and asked how that would work with the pool being closed.
Assistant county administrator Tabatha Perry said she spoke to Greg Harris and the maintenance department can check the pool during the week but would need a part time employee to stop by on the weekends.
“I would recommend that if you did hire a weekend person, they could be on call to check the reservations on the calendar and be responsible for cleaning the pavilion before and after the reservation,” Perry said.
Nolte made the motion to close the pool for the 2020 summer season and continue to rent the pavilions according to whatever rules may be passed by the state or federal government, as well as to hire a part-time employee to help with the pool and pavilions. Tenney seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.