Not to rush the end of summer, but swimmers have a limited time left to use the city's public pools.
Just in time for an expected blast of heat, Monday was a free-admission day at a select number of city pools. Next Monday will bring a repeat free-admission day at Berry Hill, Constitution, Douglass and Picadome neighborhood pools. Castlewood Aquatic Center will stay open for an additional free Monday on Aug. 1.
But come July 31, pools will start closing, with neighborhood pools shutting down first.
Shillito pool will give swimmers a couple of extra days, closing for the season on Aug. 3. Castlewood and Southland aquatic centers close for the season on Aug. 10, the day before the opening of Fayette County public schools.
Tates Creek and Woodland aquatic centers are to remain open until Labor Day. Those two pools were selected to stay open longer because they are more centrally located and have better restrooms, concessions and play features, said Brian Rogers, head of the city's aquatics program.
This is the third year that pools have closed early, Rogers said. Before parks and recreation was hit with budget reductions, all pools were open until just before school started; all four aquatic centers stayed open until Labor Day, he said.
Closing pools early is not entirely a budget issue, Rogers said. Of the approximately 200 seasonal employees he hires, most are high school students. "When they go back to school, the labor laws change for the number of hours they can work, and which hours they work if they're under 18," he said.
Also, "A lot of them just don't want to work after school starts, so keeping pools open becomes a staffing issue as much as anything."