Spokane-area residents only have a few days left before the region’s public pools close for the summer.
Spokane County public pools closed Sunday, and the last day of swimming in city of Spokane aquatic centers is Saturday.
Sarah Fitzgerald, recreation manager for the Spokane County Parks and Recreation Department, said smoke was much less of an issue this summer than it has been in the past. The county only had to cancel one morning of swimming lessons all summer because of air quality. The lesson was rescheduled.
“We just had beautiful skies this summer, and we had fantastic air,” she said.
Last summer, half of the swimming lessons in August were canceled because of air quality, and the aquatic centers weren’t able to make them up because lessons scheduled on makeup days were also canceled. Fitzgerald said cold rainy days disrupted pool hours far more often than air quality this summer.
Several swimming lessons were rescheduled due to lightning, and the county pools closed early a few times because of cold weather.
“If I had to choose, I would pick cold and rainy over not being able to breath,” Fitzgerald said.
Spokane’s aquatic centers had to close three times this summer due to smoke, said Josh Morrisey, a spokesman for the city’s parks department. Last summer, aquatic centers closed 11 times.
During the 10-week season, almost 42,000 people visited Spokane County’s two aquatic centers, Northside and Southside. About 1,560 children took swimming lessons.
At the city of Spokane’s six aquatic centers, about 116,000 people visited this summer for lap swim, open swim or parent and toddler swim.
Spokane Valley’s pools will also stay open for the rest of the week. The Valley Mission Pool’s last day is Saturday and the Park Road Pool will close Sunday. The Terrace View Pool is open through Sept. 2.
Pools in the Valley only closed early one day this season due to lightning, not smoke. Tina Gregerson, Spokane Valley recreation Coordinator, said last year the pool closed seven times due to smoke.
During the season, over 50,000 people visited the three pools and more than 1,400 children participated in swim lessons.
Spokane County doesn’t have any off-season activities planned for its aquatic centers, but Spokane Parks and Recreation will keep Witter Pool open for adult lap swim from Aug. 26 to Sept. 3. Next week, other pools will host Doggy Dip events, where dogs can play in the pools.
The Doggy Dips will be held from Aug. 25 through through Aug. 29 at the Comstock, Shadle, Hillyard, Cannon and Liberty aquatic centers. Dog owners, who will not be able to play in the water with their dogs, pay $10 at the door; the proceeds go to SpokAnimal.
Spokane Valley will also have a Paws in the Pool event on Sunday at the Valley Mission Pool. Dogs under 65 lbs can swim from 1 to 1:45, dogs 66 lbs and over can swim from 2 to 2:45 p.m. An owner can bring up to two dogs with a $5 registration fee.
This article was updated on Aug. 20, 2019 to include pool closure information about Spokane Valley.
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