Omaha pools open thanks to donations

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 8:08 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - People are in City of Omaha swimming pools cooling off Wednesday. This year, Omaha's public pools were not scheduled to open because the city lost millions of dollars due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But a group of donors contacted Mayor Jean Stothert and kicked in $700,000 to open five swimming pools: Roanoke, Hitchock, Elmwood, Miller and Zorinsky all opened Wednesday.

Officials said it usually takes months to get pools up and running and get everyone trained, this year officials had to turn things around in two weeks.

Many people have been waiting for a chance to cool down. At Zorinsky Pool, people lined up to take a dip on the first day pools were open in Omaha.

"Honestly, we should have done this before this happened in my opinion," said April Mantzer of Omaha.

THis year it costs $2 to get into pools. Children under age two get in for free. All the money generated will be donated to a local food bank.

"I'm so happy about it and I'm really happy they're donating the money to the food banks because there's a lot of people who are in need out there," she said.

There is no concession stand this year. Things will be different at the pools with new rules and procedures.

“We ask that you have your swimsuit on before coming here because it limits time in the locker room. OUt on the pool deck we have chairs that are six feet apart as well, we really encourage to just maintain that social distance,” explained Marquette Ryan with the City of Omaha.

"We usually come all summer long so this is a great first day. These are my grandsons, Porter, Brooks and Jude," said Shirley Tschirren.

She thinks swimming pools will be safe.

"Well, I think they're still taking precautions with the distancing and limiting the number and I think they're doing everything that they can to make this as safe as they can so we can go swimming and enjoy our summer. BEcause for town kids, there's not much else to do," she said.

Only 300 people were allowed in Zorinsky Pool, which is 75 percent of capacity. Pools will be open through Aug. 9.

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