Pauls Valley Democrat
The wait is now over, the gates will swing wide and the new Pauls Valley Water Park can finally make its long awaited splash as it officially opens to the public today.
After the opening was delayed last week when it failed a Department of Health inspection due to minor issues, it was during the second inspection Monday the water park gained approval from the inspector that morning.
As a result it didn’t take long for city officials like Parks and Recreation Director Jennifer Samford and aquatic supervisor Billy Tomlinson to set plans in motion to let the first set of visitors through the gate starting at noon.
“There is a lot of anticipation by the community and by us to be able to offer a facility like this,” said Samford, noting how she was a little more nervous coming back a second time for inspection.
“Keep it operational, safe and have everything that everybody wants.”
City Manager James Frizell also weighed in on how because of those ready for the park, he would not be surprised if the park meets its maximum capacity of 400 visitors within hours after opening.
Samford added how while this would create lines, safety dictates after this happens that they’d then have to only let people in as others leave to maintain that population.
“I felt like we could get everything done,” said Frizell, noting on how he felt before the pool passed. “I talked to Bill and he seemed like we were good to go.”
The season will include daily swims for the next couple of weeks and will go to just weekends once school starts on Thursday, Aug. 15, said Samford.
The delays certainly contributed to the limitation, but she is glad the time was taken to make it safe and with Tomlinson’s expertise feel prepared to go at it full speed ahead.
Samford also felt it was important to point out how this will provide a chance for both those running the pool and the community to learn from the experience from how to handle crowds to implementing rules for their safety.
She agreed with Tomlinson that people will need to be prepared especially when it comes to young children as those with children 10 or under require supervision and those six or under have to be within arm’s reach at all times.
This will mean having to be in a bathing suit or trunks with ones kids and a full set of rules is available online at www.dwrrcpv.com/aquatics.htm
“There’s going to be a learning curve for the public how to use the pool and learn all the rules and all the rules that we have are to help keep everybody safe,” said Samford “Just like they had to learn how to use the recreation center they’ll have to learn here.”
In the end, Samford shared the sentiment that it was well worth the wait that goes back to the community not having an outdoor pool since the late 1980s. She is welcoming the change in her focus from preparation for opening to now the busyness of running it on a regular basis be it stocking the snack bar for visitors to keeping it clean.
“We want to do it right for them from the get-go and that’s what I’d say about us not passing last week and this week is that inspector is there to insure we get it right,” said Samford.
“So if it took a couple of extra days it’s OK, we’re ready to go now.”
The pool is located at 1005 N. Willow Street in Wacker Park and for questions call 405-238-1307.
The set hours will be Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 7 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m.
Fees for park visitors are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for youth ages 4 to 14. Children 3 and under are free.
There are no season passes, but 10 punch passes can also be published at a rate of $30 for those 4-14 years old, $40 for seniors 62 and older and $60 for individuals 15-61.