Archive for Thursday, May 25, 2006

Pool grand opening fete Friday

Free admittance highlights opening evening fesivities

May 25, 2006

Mitra Templin has one concern about the $2.6 million gift to itself the De Soto community will unwrap this weekend.

"Every time I go up there, I can't help but have a big grin on my face," the De Soto city councilwoman said. "It's just beautiful. It has great colors.

"I'm just worried that it will be too small."

Templin, who advocated for a new pool since 1999 -- first as a member of the De Soto Planning Commission and then on the council -- said she expected a big opening weekend.

"I think initially it could be crowded," she said. "It will show the need is there. When you have something like this for the people, more people will stay to use it."

Templin said she and fellow Councilwoman Linda Zindler took a tryout dip Friday in what is officially known as the De Soto Family Aquatic Center. She is eagerly awaiting the community's first chance to use the pool.

That chance will come when the pool's gates will open to the community at 5 p.m. Friday for a three-hour grand opening. Normal daily operations start Saturday.

In addition to ceremonies marking the occasion -- including Mayor Dave Anderson's promised inaugural splash from the high diving board and Templin's initiation of the 170-foot waterslide -- those attending Friday's grand opening will be free to swim in the pool, tour the facilities or sign up for season passes, swim lessons or classes offered at the pool. Door prizes and free refreshments will be available.

"I can't wait for everybody to see it," Templin said. "It's more than the pool, too. It's the shade, the chaises, the picnic tables. It's the family changing rooms so dads can take their daughters in the changing room and not feel bad about it."

Like Templin, pool manager Justin Huslig suspects the pool will be very popular this weekend. He, De Soto Parks and Recreation director Jay Garvin and other city staffers would be busy getting last-minute details in place until "the big dance," Huslig said.

Swim classes, adult aerobics and meetings of the De Soto Dolphins swim team will start June 1.

The pool diving area and lap lanes are competition ready, but it was decided not to try to field a competitive team this year, Templin and Huslig said. Rather, the Dolphins will give youngsters the opportunity to find out what such a team is about and to gauge interest, they said.

During a visit to the pool Monday, De Soto teenagers Lauren Karnitz and Emily Bramlett are eagerly anticipating the opening this weekend.

"We're excited," Karnitz said. "We get money."

"And more tanned," added Bramlett.

The two teens are among the 20 hired to work as lifeguards this summer at the pool.

One among them, Morgan Frehe, served as a lifeguard at the old Miller Park pool. The new pool will offer different challenges because of more objects in the water, but overall she said her job would be easier.

"It'll be safer," she said. "The old pool was overcrowded."

Two features won't be in place for the weekend. Tot and family slides, ordered only when it was assured money was left in the pool's construction contingency fund, are to be installed next week.

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