Hampton Township sets mid-June target for opening community swimming pool

Friday, May 8, 2020 | 7:03 AM

Hampton Community Pool won’t be open in time for the Memorial Day holiday this year because of the state-mandated shutdown.

But township officials are hoping to dive into the swimming season by mid-June if coronavirus cases tame enough to put the region in the “yellow phase,” said Hampton manager Chris Lochner.

“Our intention is to open, with some restrictions, on June 14 if the county is yellow,” he said, adding that guidance from the state will determine if the date will have to be moved forward.

Lochner said township officials feel strongly about opening the pool because of the uncertainties people might face this year when booking vacations.

“We anticipate that there will be a lot of families who won’t be able to go on vacation in late July and August,” he said. “So the swimming pool might be one of the few alternatives for them.”

There is, however, a caveat that could dunk the township’s plans for opening the pool, the manager said.

“If we get to July 4 and can’t open, we’ll have to give some thought to whether we will be able to do it all,” he said. “There is a point where the cost of opening and maintaining the pool becomes a greater issue relative to the number of days it’s open. The pool is not a moneymaker for the township.”

Residents who have already purchased swimming passes for the season will receive a refund if the pool does not open, the manager said.

The township has already hired lifeguards to staff the pool, which typically takes 13 days to prepare for visitors.

If social distancing is still required after the pool has the go-ahead to open, its 3,000-person capacity will be reduced to give people room to spread out.

“We’ll count the number of people as they go and cut it off when we reach a certain number,” he said. “More people won’t be let in until some leave. It’s unfortunate, but it’s something we’ll have to do.”