“We’re so excited to see what kind of response that we will get for it,” said Kristin Strickland, aquatics coordinator for the Cartersville Parks and Recreation Department. “This pool reminds me more of a pool that you would have at a resort or more of a pool that you would have at one of the big counties, [such as] Cobb County, and we have it right here in our little town of Cartersville. So it’s really, really, really nice.
“... With all the rain that we’ve been having, we were really concerned. We open Saturday and we are still working,” she said, adding painting and fine-tuning the pool’s filtration system are some of the tasks being completed this week. “So weather has hindered us a lot but we had a really good pool company that built the pool for us. And they had 30 guys out here working [on the] weekends, trying to get our pool built.”
Costing $1,025,000 in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds, some of the Dellinger Park improvements include a new bath house, increasing the number of showers; a zero-depth entry pool enabling people to walk into the structure from the shallow end; and water features on the pool deck.
“The biggest difference you will find and one of the most needed [is the bath house],” Strickland said. “... It’s larger. It has more stalls, more showers to accommodate more people. Then we took the pool and we kept it the same shape but we zero depthed it, which means at one side you can just walk straight into the pool. ... It will be easier [for kids] and more ADA accessible now. So kids in wheelchairs can roll their wheelchairs straight down into it. So that’s really nice. Then we [installed] a spray park area that [has] no depth on it at all. So when you first walk into the pool, we have 23 spray features that just come up from the pool deck. They are just like water features that shoot water straight into the air, that just come up straight from the pool deck itself.
“So the little kids and the adults, they can just play in the water. They can still get wet without having to get into the water. ... [The improvements make the pool area] more fun. Before we had the pool and everybody could just get in the pool and get wet, but now there’s actually interaction to the pool. It’s more convenient for families to come because you have an area for your little kids where we really didn’t have that before. Then you have your area for the bigger kids with the diving board in the deep end. So I think it made it more family friendly, making the shallow end of the pool more shallow and where we have all of our water features that kids can play in.”
With May being designated as National Water Safety Month, Strickland encourages adults to equip youth with appropriate tools to avoid serious injury. Along with helping them learn how to swim, parents should review the posted pool rules with their children, supervise youth 12 and younger at the pool, and, if needed, equip them with U.S. Coast Guard approved floatation devices instead of foam or air-filled toys.
In recognition of Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week, May 20 through 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a study of public pools, revealing fecal contamination.
According to the CDC news release, “CDC collected samples of water from pool filters from public pools and tested the samples for genetic material (for example, DNA) of multiple microbes. The study found that 58 percent of the pool filter samples tested were positive for E. coli, bacteria normally found in the human gut and feces. The E. coli is a marker for fecal contamination. Finding a high percentage of E. coli-positive filters indicates swimmers frequently contaminate pool water when they have a fecal incident in the water or when feces rinse off of their bodies because they do not shower thoroughly before getting into the water. No samples tested positive for E. coli O157:H7, a toxin-producing E. coli strain that causes illness.
“Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can cause skin rashes and ear infections, was detected in 59 percent of samples. Finding Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the water indicates natural environmental contamination or contamination introduced by swimmers. Cryptosporidium and Giardia, germs that are spread through feces and cause diarrhea, were found in less than 2 percent of samples. The tests used in the study do not indicate whether the detected germs were alive or able to cause infections. Indoor and outdoor public pools were sampled.”
Saying this study reinforced what people already knew, Strickland noted it is important for those who operate public pools and their patrons to be proactive.
“We always knew that we have bacteria living in our water. You just really have to keep your water with enough chlorine in it and sanitizer in it to kill it,” Strickland said. “And we do a really good job with that and we’re even going to do a better job with the new pool because everything’s going to be automatic. So it takes away almost all human error when it comes to not keeping your sanitizer where it needs to be. And also our health department helps us with that a lot because they come out quite frequently to make sure that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. So they’re a way for the public to be able to know that our pools are safe and keep maintaining the correct level.
“But the most important thing that parents can do is make sure that their kids and [they] shower before they get into the water. ... You get up in the morning and you shower and you put on makeup and perfume and, if you don’t shower before you get into the pool, all that gets into the pool. Then that’s when we get film on top of the water. It makes the water look a little bit oily [and] it’s because people bring that all into our pool. So if they shower before they get into the pool, it takes all that off. Then it won’t get into the pool. Also, parents can make sure that they don’t bring their kids to the pool if they’re sick and if they have any kind of diarrhea.”
With both of the city of Cartersville pools — Dellinger Park and Aubrey Street — opening Saturday, individual pool passes still can be purchased for $40 each at the Dellinger Park Office. Family passes also are obtainable for $100, which will cover up to four people, after which each additional person will be charged $20. With only 250 passes available, seasonal passes are being sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Daily admission will be $3 for ages 13 to adult, $2 for ages 5 to 12 and no charge for 4 and younger.
The pools’ schedules are:
• Dellinger Park at 100 Pine Grove Road: From May 25 to Aug. 6, Tuesday through Friday, noon to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, noon to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m.; Aug. 10 to Sept. 1, Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 6 p.m.; and Sept. 2, noon to 5:30 p.m. Along with Labor Day, the pool will be open on Memorial Day.
• Aubrey Street at 135 Aubrey St.: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m. Closed on Wednesdays, the pool will be open May 25 to Aug. 4.
In addition to passes, registration also is underway at the Dellinger Park Office for upcoming swimming lessons. The first two-week session starts June 3. Open for 6-month-olds to adults, each session is $50 per person.
For more information about the city’s swimming lessons or pool passes, call the Cartersville Parks and Recreation Department at 770-387-5626 or visit www.cityofcartersville.org.