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West Hartford’s Fernridge Park Pool Opening Friday

Fernridge Park pool. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

Fernridge Park’s pool will open Friday, July 17, and the Beachland Park pool will open on Monday, July 20.

By Ronni Newton

The Town of West Hartford announced in late June that it would be opening two of the four outdoor pools in July, and Director of Leisure and Social Services Helen Rubino-Turco said Thursday that the Fernridge Park Pool is ready to go ahead of schedule and will open to the public on Friday, July 17.

Online reservations to use the Fernridge Park pool can be made as of Thursday night through the Cornerstone Aquatics Center website, www.cornerstoneaquatics.com.

HealthFitness, the company that runs Cornerstone Aquatics Center, is managing the town’s outdoor pools this summer. Cornerstone is temporarily closed for a capital improvement project.

Online reservations may be made for the Beachland Park pool beginning Sunday, July 19.

Reservations may also be made by calling Cornerstone 860-561-8271.

Walk-ups will only be accepted if space permits, Town Manager Matt Hart told the Town Council at Tuesday night’s meeting.

“Pre-registrations are strongly encouraged to reduce one-on-one transactions at the pool with staff,” Rubino-Turco said. “Each person coming to swim must provide name, address, and contact information in case contact tracing becomes necessary.”

Use of the pools is available this summer free of cost to residents and Cornerstone members.

Residents are permitted to bring guests – including non-resident guests –  at no cost, but contact information must be provided. Non-resident guests must be accompanied by residents.

West Hartford had planned to keep all of its outdoor pools closed throughout the summer of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Hart and Rubino-Turco announced last month that two of the four pools would open in July. Fernridge and Beachland pools were chosen because they are the most recently-renovated and provide a good geographical spread for residents.

Reservations must be made in advance for pool time through HealthFitness, and sessions will be just under one hour for lap swims and just under two hours for general swim. Water fitness classes will be offered as well.

Pool hours will be 8 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays through Aug. 7 and 8 a.m.-7 p.m. after Aug.. 10. Weekend hours will be 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Sessions will be structured to accommodate cleaning time, Hart said.

Fernridge Park pool will remain open through Aug. 23, and the Beachland Park pool will remain open until Sept. 1.

Splash pads at four West Hartford parks opened June 27, and are being managed by town staff who are ensuring capacity limits are followed and physical distancing is maintained. Hart said there has been a positive response to the reopening of the splash pads. “I have not heard of any problems with excessive wait time,” he told the Council.

The Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to appropriate $186,000 from the Capital Non-Recurring Expenditure Fund into the General Fund to cover the maintenance and labor associated with the reopening of the pools as well as additional park maintenance.

During the discussion of the FY2021 budget, the Council had eliminated funding for outdoor pool and splash pad operations, as well as funding for seasonal grounds maintainers, with the understanding that management would seek to restore funding for these operations if public health conditions improved, Hart said.

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