After a year of shutdowns, isolation, mask-wearing and fits and starts of six-feet-apart schooling, a wave of summer splish-splashing of hope is coming Ulster County’s way. In contrast to last summer, almost all of the local municipal pools will be filling their watering holes and opening up the gates to campers, bathers, competitive swimmers, families, singles, seniors – all eager for some Vitamin D, poolside lounging, lap-swimming and healthy outdoor activity.
Last year’s aqua-pioneer along with the Ulster County Pool in offering residents some reprieve from the heat, the Moriello Pool in the Town of New Paltz is preparing to open on Memorial Day weekend. “If the weather is nice on Friday, and there’s no last-minute issues, we will open the pool,” said New Paltz Town supervisor Neil Bettez, a municipal pool enthusiast. “People need every opportunity that they can get to be outside, be active and have a healthy, safe place for their children to go.”
Although New York State Governor Cuomo has lifted the mask mandate and officially given his blessing for pools and beaches to open, stating stated that it was his goal for all waterfronts to be at full capacity by July 4, Supervisor Bettez said that “We’re still waiting on guidelines from the County. We’re going to start with what we did last year and ask people to socially distance and wear masks, unless they’re in the water.” He said that if the county relaxes those guidelines, the pool will follow suit. “I’m hoping that it’s much more relaxed this year.” Although it was rare for the pool to reach even half-capacity last year, at 200, Bettez said that the facility will begin with that, until it’s given the green light to have more patrons. “We will be open on weekends until school is out, and then we’re open seven days a week,” said the supervisor.
Moriello is poised to start up its competitive summer recreation swim team, the Seahawks, in June; and if kids aren’t ready for the team, they can sign up for swim lessons.
Rosendale’s Town Pool is now getting ready to open its gates by July 1. “We have to get the pool filled with water, and there are some minor maintenance issues that need to be taken care of because we didn’t open last year, which makes it a bit more challenging this year,” said supervisor Jeanne Walsh. Despite the Centers for Disease Control’s stance that pools were a particularly safe arena for people to congregate, because of the chlorine and the fact that COVID did not transmit through water, Rosendale, along with several other pools, refused to open last summer.
“The numbers are down now, but we’re still going to require mask-wearing and social distancing,” said Supervisor Walsh. “You can sit with your family or your group of friends without a mask on, but you’ll need to keep within six feet of other patrons.” Walsh said that Rosendale is limited to 100 patrons, “according to the County.” Because of that, the pool will only be selling day passes and not summer memberships. “Our town campers will be able to use the pool, and we will have our summer recreation swim team, the Rosendale Rapids, training at the pool in the morning,” she added.
The supervisor said that she’s happy “to try and help the children get back to as close to normal as possible,” and noted that the Rosendale Recreation Program’s summer camps are “almost full.” For more information on the Rosendale Pool, fees, job opportunities, swim team or other programs, call (845) 658-8982.
Another swimming venue that will open to happy patrons is the Andretta Pool: Kingston’s only public pool, located in the heart of the city next to the Dietz Stadium complex. This six-lane, 25-meter pool was built in 1973 and has served City residents for more almost five decades. “We’re planning to open on June 19,” said Carole Huppert, administrative assistant for Kingston’s Department of Parks and Recreation. “We will offer daily lap swimming, and in July we will offer swim lessons. All of our camps and park programs will be able to utilize the pool as well.”
The Andretta Pool is a boon to local residents, as the cost has been kept low, with Kingston families being charged a summer membership fee of $85, $40 for singles and $15 for children and seniors. The facility will also be open to non-residents. For more information on pool fees, programs and hours of operation, call (845) 481-7330 or go online to https://kingston-ny.gov/content/8401/10588/10632/default.aspx.
Private area pools, including Zena in Woodstock and Hurley Recreation, will also be opening. Both will offer their summer recreation swim teams, which, along with New Paltz and Rosendale, are part of the DUSO (Dutchess and Ulster Swim Organization) Swim League. The Zena Sundevils and the Hurley Tiger Sharks have already opened up registration for eager young competitors and will both have family memberships, individual memberships and offer swim lessons and other programs. To learn more about the Hurley Recreation Center, go to https://hurleyrec.org. To learn more about the Zena Recreation Park and Tennis Club, located in Woodstock, go to www.zenarec.com.
While the Ulster County Pool is slated to open, county executive Pat Ryan’s assistant, Daniel Torres, said that they’re currently working with New York State, which has set up a COVID vaccination site at the County Fairgrounds that utilizes the parking lot at the County Pool. Both the Ulster County Fair and the pool are expected to open, but final details are still being worked out. Hudson Valley One will report on these dates and specifics as soon as they become available.