State officials still hopeful for short swimming season

The swimming pool at Withrow Springs State Park.

Withrow Springs State Park Director Earl Minton said last week he’s still hoping to open the swimming pool a few days before having to shut it down on Labor Day.

Baldwin & Shell Construction in Little Rock has been working since May to repair part of the pool, the only public pool in Madison County. The company and Arkansas State Parks agreed on a $487,210 project to replace block walls and part of the deck. Chief Planner Jordan Thomas has said that around 100 linear feet of wall will be replaced, along with about 1,000 square feet of deck.

Last week, the park put a classified advertisement in The Record looking for lifeguards and seasonal maintenance.

“There’s a possibility that we might [open],” Minton said. “That’s why we went ahead and put that [ad] in the paper. Maybe we can get some applicants ... [and] get enough to maybe get a pool of people we can choose from.”

Project Manager Shad Roe in May said the repairs have a completion date of Aug. 11.  Minton, however, said the company received an extension to the deadline.

“There’s some more repairs that are going to have to be done to the inside, so they got an extension,” Minton said. Roe said last week that the deadline has not officially been extended. He said the inside of the pool needs to be treated, something that was not part of the company’s bid.

“It’s going to be a little bit longer than that Aug. 11,” Minton said.

Roe said it is up to the state as to when the pool’s coating is fixed.

The pools at state parks in Arkansas are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

“Normally, the last day is Labor Day, because all the kids go back to school and you lose your lifeguards because most of the time they’re high school kids or college kids, so they’re gone by that time too,” Minton said.

Minton said he would like to open the pool this summer, but he just has to wait.

“We just have to wait and see when they get it done, and then go from there,” he said about possibly opening the pool.

The ad last week said lifeguard jobs would pay $9.25 per hour. Anyone interested can go to the park office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for an application. For more information, call 479-559-2593.

Withrow Springs State Park is located just off Highway 23, 6 miles north of Huntsville.

Minton said it takes about 36 hours to fill the pool at Withrow. He said the water can warm quickly with “a couple of warm days.”

The pool was closed for the 2018 season. The state this year had hoped to get repairs done in May or June, but getting bids and plans approved took longer than expected, Thomas said.

Labor Day is Monday, Sept. 2.

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