Popularity of swim activities prompts adjustments

Adjustments in the schedule at Marion Swimming Pool are being made because 207 children are taking swimming lessons, Deanna Thierolf, manager of the pool, told the Marion City Commission Monday.

Thierolf said the large number means there are four swim sessions beginning at 9:30 a.m. weekdays instead of three sessions. As a result, the lessons end at 1:30 p.m. when members of the public show up at the scheduled pool opening time of 1 p.m.

In addition, Thierolf said 81 persons have joined the pool’s swimming team, which competes with teams as nearby as Hillsboro, but as far away as Abilene and Council Grove. A late arrival of the team home on Saturdays causes problems in pool opening because most life guards are on the team.

Thierolf said participation by the lifeguards, many of whom are young athletes also involved in baseball, basketball and weight lifting, is important because of their leadership appeal to younger members. Additional problems are caused when lifeguards must be away for other sports, she said.

The lifeguards frequently return from meets to duty with no break until somebody can fill in to give them 2 p.m. or later lunch-breaks, she said.

Thierolf said she certified eight new lifeguards this year to give the swimming pool 16 lifeguards with six to eight substitutes available.

She explained that in working with the tight schedule the public should realize that all of this is “done for the kids,” and that the swimming pool is a valuable asset for improving things for kids.

She said, “Swimming is keeping kids off the street, keeps them healthy, and keeps them happy.”

She said persons arriving to swim at 1 p.m. are being sent to the wading pool to wait until swimming lessons are done.

Mayor Eloise Mueller and Commissioner Jim Crofoot said it was their sense that the commission should allow Thierolf to handle the situation as needed with no official change in scheduling, although they called for public understanding.

The swimming pool again came to the commission’s attention with a request from the wife of a part-time police officer that the city extend free swimming passes to part-time officers’ families just as it does to full-time employees, volunteer firemen and emergency medical service personnel.

City Administrator Dennis Nichols said at one time Marion had given part-time police this privilege, but had withdrawn it as an economy move because the passes are valued at $70 in potential lost revenue.

He said most employees appear to be using the passes or offering them to their grandchildren for use.

The commissioners voted 2-0 to offer the passes for the families of the two part-time officers listed on the city’s organizational chart, but not to four other officers who are called in part-time from other forces for assignments by Police Chief David Mayfield.

In departmental reports, Mayfield told commissioners he feels his officers are to be commended this year because, even though the number of cases worked are about the same as last year, there have been more high profile cases with a near 100 percent clearance rate due to officers’ persistence.

Susan Cooper, development director, said a new business, The Frame Shop, owned by Pat Enos, is moving into the 200 Block of Main Street.

She said exterior work on the Seacat Hardware Store in the retail industrial park is nearly complete.

Cooper expected to report soon whether the city could realize savings on buying and maintaining highway signs rather than leasing them.

Marty Fredrickson, street superintendent, said work was delayed Sunday on a water leak at Denver and Freeborn until late evening to allow residents whose service would be interrupted to enjoy Father’s Day.

Harvey Sanders, utilities superintendent, said the city had one 10-minute power outage Saturday night due to wind. His crew is continuing work on new high-voltage lines.

The commission met for 20 minutes in executive session with City Attorney Dan Baldwin to consider the Groening et al lawsuit against the city concerning establishment of a regional landfill. No decisions were made.

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