Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

August 26, 2013

Water park on weekend hours

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — The opening of a water park here in Pauls Valley was literally years in the making and long anticipated by swimmers of all ages.

Unfortunately for city officials and others a number of factors led to the park opening much later in the summer than originally hoped.

Still, the park located next to the Reynolds Recreation Center in the local Wacker Park is open and has moved to its weekend only hours thanks to the start of another school year.

“We’ve had a lot of people calling us wandering if we’re still open, what the hours are, things like that,” said Jennifer Samford, Parks and Recreation director in PV.

“The biggest thing is the water park is staying open on weekends,” she said.

“We’re planning to be open every weekend, Saturdays and Sundays, through September.”

It was several years ago when plans first surfaced to bring back an outdoor swimming pool to Pauls Valley.

Initially the pool idea was part of the plans for a recreation center. Costs later split the two apart as the center came first more than two years ago, followed by the water park’s official opening on July 30.

Samford says once the gates did finally open up to the public it was a bit slow. That soon turned around as more and more swimmers began filling up the park.

“Our peak attendance day was on Saturday, August 10,” Samford said.

“That was the only day we reached the maximum capacity,” she said, adding that number is 400.

The park was open for 16 consecutive days before a new school year started on Aug. 15 here in PV.

Since then it’s been weekend hours only, specifically from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.

If the weathers holds and nothing unforeseen happens then the park will continue that weekend plan through September before shutting down for the season.

As for the opening of the park in late July, Samford said it depended entirely on a whole series of things involved in the construction of the facility, followed by a couple of close inspections by a health official.

“The pushing back of the season was out of our control.”

Although not able to be open until much later in the summer than planned, Samford said there is a bright side.

The biggest plus has been park officials have been able to see what aspects of the facility are already working well and those needing a little work in preparation for next year.

“It’s been a good way for us to get a snapshot of what a full season will be like next year,” Samford said.

“We know what works well and what needs to get better,” she said, using mechanical and staffing as examples.

“We know there are going to be larger obstacles, like having enough trained lifeguards and staff to have the facility open an entire summer.”