It’s almost cannonball time.
The moment that many Macon families have waited weeks for — when they can break out the swimwear and cool off in one of the city of Macon’s six public pools — is nearly here.
The city’s pools open Saturday, just in time for the long Memorial Day weekend. In Warner Robins, two of the city’s three pools — Fountain Park and Sewell Park — also open this weekend. Creekwood Park Pool in Perry is tentatively scheduled to open Monday.
For a time, Saturday’s opening of Macon’s pools was in jeopardy. It took weeks for the city to approve a management company to oversee the pools. In the end, Atlanta-based Aquatic Management Inc. won the contract with a $197,500 bid that City Council approved May 11.
The haggling didn’t leave a whole lot of turnaround time to get the pools ready.
“It’s going very well,” said Pat Brown, president of Aquatic Management. “We had a short amount of time to get ready, but we’re making it work. Everything is going to be ready on Saturday. All of the pools will be inspected and staffed, as per our agreement with the city.”
Dale “Doc” Dougherty, the city’s new Parks & Recreation director, said the only pool that was in danger of not opening on time was the one at Freedom Park.
“That was the one we weren’t sure of, because it’s a pool that needs to be resurfaced,” he said. “But we’re going to get through this year, and then do it. It’s being filled up with the help of the fire department and will be inspected” today.
Dougherty said all of the other pools were inspected Thursday, and there were only minor issues that needed to be corrected.
“They were just the normal issues you have any time a pool sits during the winter,” Brown said. “There were maintenance issues that had to be addressed.
“If we had more time, it always makes the job easier, but we rolled with it and made it work.”
Brown said his company is in the process of hiring 30 to 40 lifeguards for the summer. He said Thursday he wasn’t sure how many of them had already been hired, but he said there are enough right now to keep the pools fully staffed. Those who have been hired are getting training this week in preparation for the opening weekend.
Dougherty said the pools will remain open until early August, when the Bibb County schools start up. He said they will close after that because it doesn’t make economic sense to keep them open on weekends only.
Both men said they are expecting the pools to be filled to capacity this weekend.
“That first (weekend), each place will be packed,” Dougherty said. “After that, it dwindles down a bit.”
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.