Home Local News Pools, splash pads prep for openings to beat the heat

Pools, splash pads prep for openings to beat the heat

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After a year’s forced hiatus due to restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, municipal pools and splash pads in Hobbs, Lovington, Jal and Eunice are gearing up to reopen to help residents beat the heat this summer.

Crews are out and about at the three municipal pools in Hobbs, power washing away a year’s accumulation of dirt in preparation for opening on Saturday, May 29, to kick off Memorial Day weekend, said Brittny Huffman, aquatics coordinator for the city of Hobbs Parks and Recreation Department. Plans are to do open up the five city-run splash pads this Saturday, one week ahead of the pool openings, she said.

“Memorial Day weekend is always our goal,” Huffman said. “We typically do a preview weekend for the splash pads the weekend before.”

The splash pads at City Park, Jefferson Park, Mills Elementary, Taylor Elementary and Washington Park are available from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily from May 31 to Aug. 1, Huffman said. They will be open regular hours Saturday and Sunday and available weekends only from Aug. 7 to Sept. 26.

For those looking for a more immersive experience, the city operates three outdoor swimming pools, at Del Norte Park, Heizer Park and Humble Park. Del Norte pool will be opening noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday. Heizer Park pool hours will be noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Humble Park pool will be open noon to 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, closing early to accommodate swim lessons, Huffman said. Interested parties may register for swimming lessons via the “E-Trak” link at hobbsnm.org/recreation.html.

Swim lessons are $20 for a two-week session, she said. She’s looking for as many students as the pool can accommodate under a restriction of 75 percent capacity, based on attendance guidelines mandated by the state.

“We’ll take as many people as possible so I can turn them into lifeguards later,” Huffman said.

The city’s recreation department is facing challenges with staffing the three swim facilities, she said. Being closed down last year due to the pandemic meant some of the veteran lifeguards couldn’t keep up with their regular, biennial certification schedule.

Filling needed positions at the pools also was stymied by delays in guidance from the state on what could open and when, Huffman said. So the city is now in something of a hiring frenzy, trying to fill not only lifeguard jobs but hire seasonal workers for other areas as well.

There may be a solution to the north, as the city of Lovington is not planning to open its municipal pool this year due in part to budget constraints, Mayor David Trujillo told the News-Sun on Tuesday. That means trained lifeguards from Lovington are welcome to apply for jobs at the Hobbs pools, Huffman said.

“If Lovington people would like to come work for us, I’m more than willing to give them that opportunity,” she said. “That would help them keep current on their skills and help them get (work) hours in a time where things are uncertain.”

To apply, click the “Now Hiring” link at the top of the page at hobbsnm.org and search for summer recreational positions.

Admission at Hobbs municipal swimming pools is $2 for ages 4 to 61. Individuals 3 and younger or 62 and older are admitted free. Full pool rules are posted at the individual facilities.

Despite the budget shortfalls, Lovington is planning to open its splash pad at Chaparral Park on May 26, Trujillo said. The original plan was to open both, he said, but the additional year hiatus will allow for the performance of needed maintenance and renovations to the pool on South Industrial Road.

The Chaparral Park splash pad on South Commercial Street will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

“It’s a play feature,” Trujillo said. “It’s pretty much for all ages. It has a lot of sprinkling systems all tied together. And we do have areas where parents can sit and observe their children.”

In Jal, the swimming pool is a joint endeavor of the city and Jal Municipal Schools, with an enclosed pool and an outdoor water slide, City Manager Matt White said. The pool will be open 1-5 p.m., starting June 7 and running through July 31.

Admission to the pool and water slide is $2 for students, $3 for adults with youth aged 5 and younger and seniors free, said Caleb Aldridge, pool manager. The pool also offers swimming lessons, running Monday through Thursday, June 7 through July 15. Cost is $40 for the first child in a family and $20 for each sibling from the same family, Aldridge said. The cost of lessons includes a pass to the afternoon public swimming hours for each student good through the end of the season, he said.

Jal’s opening, slated for June 7, is a little later than others due to some maintenance issues that arose, not necessarily connected to the pandemic closures last year, Aldridge said. But repairs to the supplementary ultraviolet water treatment system, outdoor water slide and more are done or nearing completion, he said.

Eunice is aiming for a June 5 opening day for its municipal pool, Mayor Billy Hobbs said. According to the city website, cityofeunice.org , crews are performing some last minute maintenance on the facility this week in preparation for a regular inspection from the New Mexico Environment Department.

The Eunice pool “has a kiddy area where it’s kind of a splash pad,” Hobbs said. “We have a little kids slide area.”

Eunice, too, is looking to hire lifeguards, he said. In conversations Monday, Hobbs said he was told the city has several applications for the positions but “I think they might be looking for a few more lifeguards to kind of fill in.”

Pool hours in Eunice are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday. Admission is $2 for everyone, Hobbs said.

The June 5 opening is planned to coincide with a meet-and-greet event scheduled for Eunice City Park. Residents are invited out for food and a chance to meet police officers and members of the Eunice City Council.

“We have a lot of things going on that day,” Hobbs said. “We’re planning to open (the pool) up that day because of all the activities at the park.”

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