Outdoor pools finally reopened in Grand Junction and Palisade this past weekend with good turnout, but both remained below allowed capacity.

Grand Junction Parks and Recreation Director Ken Sherbenou said the original plan had been to reopen Lincoln Park Pool for the 4th of July weekend, but they were able to have a “soft opening” a week ahead of schedule. Palisade used lifeguards from Grand Junction and followed their timeline.

“The Lincoln Park Pool reopening went well,” Sherbenou said. “We were below our capacity (of 175), which I think can be expected given the fact that our goal was obviously to provide the service, but we were concerned with making sure we weren’t overcrowded.”

Palisade Town Administrator Janet Hawkinson said they mostly saw kids and families using its pool and that everyone was happy it was back open. She said they also did not at any point reach allowed capacity.

“We didn’t have to turn anybody away,” Hawkinson said. “Our pool could be 50 percent so I think we were allowed 75 and we had painted social distancing circles on the grass.”

Both pools took steps to promote social distancing, marking out spaces for chairs, which were not permitted to move. Sherbenou said compliance with social distancing from pool users was high and that they understood why it was necessary for public health amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To be able to offer the pool amenity is such a signature part of being in Grand Junction, given how it’s so warm here in the summertime,” Sherbenou said. “I think people are very excited and appreciative that we were able to offer the pool that they are accustomed to having in the summertime in Grand Junction.”

For the July 4 weekend, Sherbenou said he expected more people to turn out to use the pool. There will be a discounted rate at the pool for the holiday weekend of $2.44 commemorating the 244th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Having a weekend before the holiday to reopen has helped the staff get used to the social distancing guidelines. Sherbenou said the lifeguards, many of whom had been redeployed to other jobs within the Parks and Recreation Department during the pool closure, were happy to be back. “We’re fortunate to have a lot of longevity with our lifeguards, even though a lot of them are on the younger side,” Sherbenou said “We still have folks that have worked four, five, six seasons and they are excited to be back.”

While Lincoln Park Pool has reopened, Sherbenou said the indoor Orchard Mesa Pool will remain closed for now. He said the plan is to reopen Orchard Mesa Pool when Lincoln Park closes at the end of the season.

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