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McMinnville Gilley Pool Reopens to Warren County Residents Only

By: Chris Simones -- Reporter for the Southern Standard


Gilley Pool lifeguard Cierra Shadrick sanitizes the handrails on a diving board Saturday during opening day.



Several dozen people formed a line on the hot concrete outside Gilley Pool on Saturday eager for the gates to open at 10 a.m. The pool delayed its opening date due to COVID-19 and reopened with several changes in operating procedure. 

Until the pool can operate at full capacity, only Warren County residents are being admitted.

“I’m not worried about the virus,” Katelyn Kilgore said as she waited in line. “I do like the fact they’re only letting in residents of Warren County. In the past, school buses full of kids from other counties have showed up and kind of ruined the experience for everybody.” Careful thought and planning went into establishing the new operating procedure.

“I did a lot of research with the CDC,” said Parks and Recreation wellness coordinator Mari-Lynn Wilson. “I also did a lot of research with the National Recreation and Park Association to see how other communities are going about opening up.”

Parks and Recreation assistant director Justin Scott stood near the admission gate watching the proceedings after the first wave of swimmers flowed through. “We’re only letting 200 people in at a time right now which is 25% capacity,” Scott said.

“We’re keeping count at the gate and we’ll stop admitting people when we hit that number. Right now we’re only up to about 80.”

The pool didn’t reach capacity during any of last weekend’s sessions. The first session Saturday admitted 150 swimmers. The second session saw 120 pool-goers through the gate. Sunday’s session topped out at approximately 50 people.

Wilson and Scott drafted the original reopening proposal. “Justin and I wrote out a 14-page reopening plan and submitted it to the McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen and they had the final say,” Wilson said. Inside the gates, lifeguard Cierra Shadrick was stationed at the diving board holding a spray bottle filled with a solution of Lysol and water in one hand and a hand towel in the other. 

“I have to wipe down the handrails after each person goes off the diving board,” said Cierra. “Even if they don’t touch them.”

Monday through Saturday the pool is open in two, 4-hour sessions: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. The facility is cleaned between the two sessions and again after the second session. The pool is open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

“The lifeguards spray off the decks and sanitize all hand rails and play features between sessions,” Wilson said. “I check the chemicals in the pool and add more chlorine if necessary to reach the amount recommended by the Model Aquatic Health Code. The bathrooms get a thorough cleaning between sessions also.”

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