Outdoor Public Pools to Open in Columbia

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COLUMBIA - Four outdoor Columbia public pools open tomorrow at 11 a.m. Those include Albert-Oakland Family Aquatic Center, Lake of the Woods, Douglass Family Aquatic Center and Little Mates Cove at Twin Lakes. The Activity and Recreation Center, or ARC, has hired around 150 part time employees to prepare for the summer season. Stanton Idel is the aquatic specialist for Columbia's Parks and Recreation Department. He says the past week has been spent training the new employees. 

"About the last week we've been getting them all in here, getting them on payroll and then cleaning the facilities and getting them all ready to go," Idel said. "Making sure that all of our safety preparations are in order and we've gone through a final training with all of our lifeguarding staff."

As for safety, Idel says Columbia police officers will be patrolling the area even though there haven't been problems in the pool areas before.

In the past, Albert-Oakland Family Aquatic Center was the only outdoor pool open on Memorial Day weekend. This is the first year that all of the facilities will open the same weekend. 

Karen Hayden says she's excited for the outdoor pools to open. She lives near the Albert-Oakland Family Aquatic Center.

"I do water aerobics at the outdoor pool and our family loves to be there. We live a mile from one of the pools, so we'll be there."

Idel hopes that by opening all four pools, swimmers will take advantage of all the facilities.

"We're prepared, we're ready to go and hopefully the weather will cooperate this weekend and we'll have a good crowd, Idel said. "Everybody be safe."