Seth Kenna has worked at the Jamestown Municipal Swimming Pool for five years, the last four as a lifeguard.
He grew up in Jamestown, learned to swim at the pool and spent many summer days there having fun with family and friends.
That will end Friday, when the Jamestown Municipal Swimming Pool closes for the last time.
With the Two Rivers Activity Center opening Sept. 5, the lease that Jamestown Parks and Recreation has with the University of Jamestown for the pool will end. Doug Hogan, Jamestown Parks and Recreation director, said Interstate Engineering was hired to put together a request for proposals from companies to demolish the pool area and return the land to its original state.
Kenna said he will miss working at the pool, which has been a fixture in the Jamestown landscape since it opened in 1974.
“It stings a little bit (the pool closing),” he said. “But, I think it was something that needed to be done.”
Kenna said he thinks it is important that Jamestown has an outdoor pool. He is excited about TRAC opening next month and the indoor aquatics facility the center will have, which includes two water slides. The second phase of TRAC, which will be funded by private donations, includes plans for an outdoor pool.
Hogan said as the summer progressed people have stopped by the department’s office on 2nd Avenue Southwest to talk abou the pool.
“We’ve had people asking about taking items from the pool, as remembrances,” Hogan said. Whichever company wins the bid to demolish the pool will decide what happens to the equipment at the pool, he said.
Hogan said he has mixed feelings about seeing the outdoor pool close. He said he remembers swimming in the old pool where the Bollinger tennis courts are located now and how nice the “new” pool was when it opened. Hogan said he was in high school when the pool opened and it was common for high school kids to jump the fence and swim in the pool after hours.
Hogan said upkeep on the pool and its aging support systems has been a drain on the Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department budget. For example, in July, the pool brought in $21,039 in revenues, but had $94,423 in expenditures.
Over the years he said he has noticed a drop in children and teens using the pool.
“There are just more things for the kids to do, more distractions,” he said.
Marney Shirley taught at Jamestown Middle School for 41 years and was the Jamestown High School girls swim team coach for 41 years as well. She also coached the JHS boys swim team for 15 years. For nine years she managed the Jamestown Municipal Swimming Pool and she said she is sad to see it go.
“I think it was a huge asset,” she said. “The pool offered an awful lot of possibilities for recreation, but the (swimming) lessons part of it was huge.”
Shirley said she had hundreds of children take swimming lessons at the pool during her time as manager. The main pool could hold about 100 kids with room to spare, and she said it was a great space to teach children to swim.
“The kids in Jamestown need to know how to swim,” she said. “We’re on two rivers and two reservoirs. Kids need to know how to swim, how to protect themselves.”
Shirley said she thinks TRAC will be a great asset for Jamestown, but she also hopes the outdoor pool at TRAC gets built sooner rather than later.