MOUNT VERNON — Hiawatha Water Park/Pool is in good shape and “we’re ready to rock and roll,” said assistant manager Jerry Clinger.
Staff has been hired, a lifeguard training class just finished and improvements were made to the park this spring. All that’s needed is hot weather to draw out the swimmers.
And we’ve been having plenty of that.
This spring, a new automatic sprinkler system was installed to water the grass after the pool has closed in the evening. Also installed has been a new turnstile entry gate to speed the process of getting into the pool.
“All you have to do is insert your membership card into a scanner and go through,” said Clinger. The turnstile will then provide a quick and easy attendance count.
No new features have been added to the pool this year, but the frog in the kiddy pool was sent out and repaired and is back in place, Clinger said.
The basketball court inside the fence, which was a new addition last year, was a great success and is back, he added.
The biggest task in getting the pool ready is hiring the staff needed to run it.
In addition to Manager Joy Clinger, Assistant Manager Jerry Clinger and Aquatics Director Julie Zimmerman, the staff has just over 100 people.
“I think we’re at 102,” Clinger said.
About half of those are lifeguards. On a normal, busy day, 16 lifeguards are on duty at any one time and there are two shifts per day.
“Young people are busy,” Clinger said, “and to work around summer classes or other commitments, we need at least 50 lifeguards.”