Cannonball Countdown: All 7 Concord city pools open Friday

A splash pad opened last year at White Park.

A splash pad opened last year at White Park. Monitor file

Brave swimmers test out the Kimbal pool Monday even with the afternoon tempertures in the '60s.

Brave swimmers test out the Kimbal pool Monday even with the afternoon tempertures in the '60s. GEOFF FORESTER

By CATHERINE McLAUGHLIN

Monitor staff

Published: 06-17-2024 10:45 AM

Just in time for summer, with schools letting out for the year last week and a major heat wave beginning on Tuesday, all seven of Concord’s public pools will open at the end of this week.

It’s the first summer since pre-pandemic times that’s been possible: All pools were closed in 2020 and lifeguard shortages have meant that one city pool — the one at Garrison Park — has been out of commission for the last three years. This year, with a pay raise and boosted recruitment efforts, there are enough lifeguards to go around. The six pools open this Friday, the city announced Thursday, while the splash pad at White Park has been open on weekends since the start of June and will be open evenings this week.

With the popularity of the new splash pad at White Park last summer — it tallied more than 11,000 visitors, smashing attendance records for any single neighborhood “pool” since the city started counting around 20 years ago — the city is raising the cost of pool passes for non-residents from $125 to $170, per a City Council vote last week. Councilors also voted to increase the cost of renting the football green at Memorial Field.

Before the addition of the splash pad, according to Parks and Recreation Director David Gill, the city sold around 60 non-resident pool passes in a given year. Last year, that number more than doubled.

City Council paused a planned renovation on the Garrison Park Pool during budget talks this year. Given the popularity of the splash pad on the west side and the fact that the city had kept Garrison, statistically the least utilized pool, closed the last few years, some city officials recommended this winter that it too be transformed into a splash pad. Some framed the pool’s future as a question of a pool that remains shuttered or a splash pad that can open.

But locals disagreed.

A splash pad caters to a narrower, younger age group than full-size pools, they said at a meeting this spring, and — because of both the popularity and fact that it attracts young families — would need more parking spaces, something Garrison lacks. They also objected to Garrison having been repeatedly closed instead of a rotating closure system.

City Council hasn’t decided whether Garrison should be renovated into a pool or a splash pad and instead, with input from City Manager Tom Aspell, paused the renovation plan for a year. The break will allow the city to make an overall plan about whether, and where, to add more splash pads — which Aspell suggested at Rollins and Keach parks.

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In the meantime, Garrison will be ready for residents to take the plunge.

Open times

City pools open June 21 with the following hours:

Keach, Rollins, Merrill & Rolfe:

■Weekdays: 12:30 -
4:30 p.m. and 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

■Weekends: 12:30 -
4:30 p.m.

Garrison & Kimball:

■Weekdays: 12:30 -
4:30 p.m. and 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

■Weekends: 12:30 -
4:30 p.m.

White Park Splash Pad

■Weekdays: 10 a.m. -
7 p.m.

■Weekends: 10 a.m. -
4 p.m.

Catherine McLaughlin can be contacted at cmclaughlin@cmonitor.com.