Boonville Lions Park Aquatic Center draws both young and old during summer months

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
The Boonville Lions Park Aquatic Center has been busy for the first two weeks of the summer season. Boonville Lions Park Aquatic Center Manager Skyler Blumhorst said 400-500 people came out on opening day to enjoy the pool. However, on the second weekend after opening day, Blumhorst said 900 people attended. “We’re averaging 450 people per day,” Blumhorst said. The pool is open seven days a week from 1-8 p.m. Pool parties and swimming lessons are also available.

The Boonville Lions Park Aquatic Center is being put to good use since opening day on Monday, May 31.

Boonville Lions Park Aquatic Center Manager Skyler Blumhorst estimated between 400-500 swimmers at the pool on opening day.

“I thought we had a pretty good turnout,” Blumhorst said on opening day. “The weekend after opening weekend we were even busier with 800 people on that Saturday.”

Boonville City Administrator Kate Fjell said the upkeep of the pool along with paying staff to work isn’t cheap. Fjell said during the summer season, the pool can cost anywhere from $220,000-$250,000 to run from May to September. “We try to keep our loss down to about $50,000,” Fjell said. “You’re not in the pool business for a moneymaker. It’s an amenity for the community and a quality of life thing for the people that they have somewhere to go in the summer. Honestly, there isn’t a pool anywhere that makes money except maybe a water park or a private pool.”

Fjell said although it’s been just over two weeks since the pool open, there have been no problems as far as maintenance. She said the parks department filled up the pool and turned it on and everything kicked right on like it had been operating.

Fjell said the pool was closed last year due to COVID-19. A few issues also existed in 2019 thanks to Mother Nature, where a storm blew and had some glass from a light going into the pool. She said the opening day was delayed because they had to drain the whole pool and get all of the glass out. “It was like two days before opening day, so 2019 started off a little rough,” Fjell said. “However, we’re having a great opening year re-opening. A lot of people are excited just because we weren't open last year. Just like so many other things that we didn't get to do last summer, everybody's excited to be back this year. The weather so far has been great pool weather.”

The 2021 season also marks over a decade since the Boonville Lions Park Aquatic Center was built.

Blumhorst said kids and adults also have plenty to do if they come to the pool. He said in addition to the kiddie area, they also have a spray ground feature with sprayers so kids can play and get splashed. They also have a nice slide and a dumping bucket. “A lot of kids like to hang out there,” Blumhorst said. We have lily pads for kids to play with the netting above it. They can also go  across those, and then we have the three story slides. One is open and one is closed, so a lot of people like to go down those. And then we also have a lap pool. Sometimes we'll open up the lap pool for lane swimming for people who want to do that. We also have diving boards and a therapy bench area.”

The pool is also open seven days a week from 1-8 p.m. for the avid swimmer.

Blumhorst said pool parties are also offered along with swim lessons. He said there will be two sessions for swim lessons. The first session will be held June 14-25, while the second session will take place from July 19-30-. Swimmers can go either in the morning from 11 a.m. to 12 noon, or 6-7 p.m.

The cost is $25 and includes eight one hour sessions.

Blumhorst said the swim lessons are for toddlers with parent child classes all the way up to pretty advanced like swimming techniques, where they're learning different strokes. “We typically have 9-year-olds up to 12-year-olds,” Blumhorst said. “We do limit each class to 10 people typically, but sometimes it can go over and we have to bump people up classes, because they're too advanced for the class or we bump them down in case they aren't quite ready for that class. For the younger kids, we teach things like getting used to the water, blowing bubbles, getting their face in the water, and learning how to float on their back and tread water, and then as we go up in age, we teach more advanced things on how to pass their deep water test, learning strokes to where they can competently swim and they want to know how to advance swim.”

With an average of 450 people coming to the pool each day, Blumhorst said it’s not unusual to have 10 lifeguards manning their stations throughout the day. He said there are a total of 18 lifeguards that work at the pool throughout the week with a few subs. 

Blumhorst, who started as a junior lifeguard in 2014, said the biggest issue that he has seen is people bringing in food from the outside. The Boonville Lions Park Aquatic Center has its own concession stand for people to get food or drinks during the day.  “People leave crumbs or their wrappers around and then that attracts ants into the park and we don't want that,” Blumhorst said. “It seems like every day someone's bringing outside food in.”

Blumhorst said along with scheduling the lifeguards and concession stand workers, he’s also responsible for opening up the facility and making sure  all of the cashiers are doing their job. “We also have to make sure we’re getting money for our drawers and keeping our concessions stock. We also make sure the chemicals in the pool are up to the right numbers. We have city workers as well as managers keeping track of that during operating hours.”

“I just want everyone to come out and have a good time. We do have a lot of rules, but that's for the safety of all of our patrons here. Anyone can come in here and have a good time and I like seeing that.”