For many city and county residents, the beach scene comes in a distant second to being true to their pools.
Swimming holes along a river or lake have their appeal, but an increasing number of residents have come to associate good clean fun with a dunk in chlorinated pool water.
“I love bringing my daughter here,” said Nine Mile resident Kelley Taylor at Holmberg Pool on North Wall.
“The lifeguards are very vigilant. I know they don’t let any roughhousing take place - that’s great,” said the mother of two.
Taylor and her daughters make two trips a week to Holmberg, one of four Spokane County outdoor pools.
She and a growing number of others have decided safety and clean water are more important concerns than the chance to frolic in a natural stream or lake water.
“I would say pools are much safer for swimming than your basic park beach,” said Julie Awbrey of the Spokane County Health District.
She helps administer an ongoing inspection of all city and county outdoor pools to make sure water quality never drops below accepted limits.
Most public pools - though Holmberg is an exception - also have automatic sensor systems that track water quality.
Holmberg will receive that improvement in several years. In the meantime, its staff takes readings every two hours to keep chlorine and alkalinity levels safe.
That diligence ensures swimmers don’t meet up with bacteria, parasites or other microbes found in most lakes and streams. Those problems tend to increase in slack water this time of year, and are compounded where heavy use occurs.
Pools offer one other major advantage over lakes and streams: lifeguards.
“If I were a parent, the pools would be where I’d go with my kids,” Awbrey said.
The four county pools have had a lower-than-normal turnout this year because of cool weather.
But activity is expected to be heavy during the last five weeks of the summer, said county parks supervisor Randy Johnon.
The other three county pools are: Valley Mission Pool at Valley Mission Park near Splash-Down; Park Road Pool, Broadway and Park; and Terrace View Pool, at 24th and Blake Road.
All county pools except Valley Mission are open Monday-Friday. Valley Mission is also open on Saturday.
City of Spokane pools are open seven days a week. For information, call 625-6960.
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