Keeping cool at the Valley Falls swimming pool

Story and photo by Holly Davis

The Kendall Memorial Swimming Pool at Valley Falls has seen some new faces this year. Being the only pool in Jefferson County, general attendance has greatly increased.

Playmates Ava Simmons and Sheila Sears

Playmates Ava Simmons and Sheila Sears splash away in the kiddie pool at Kendall Memorial in Valley Falls. The pool attendance is up this year because of some extreme heat in early June and the Oskaloosa pool being closed.

“In the past years we’ve had an average of 70 people a day; this year we’re at 100,” said Shirley Allen, pool manager.

Families from Winchester, Nortonville, and Meriden have carpooled to the pool not only to cool off, but also for swimming lessons.

Because there is an increase of swim lesson participants as well, six instructors are needed for the four classes given. There is an admission of $25 for each individual undertaking the classes and $1.50 of that amount goes to Red Cross.

“We usually break even in the end, but I want to give everyone the opportunity (of learning to swim),” Allen said.

Oskaloosa’s pool closing and extreme heat are the main factors for increased business. To accommodate on busy days, the roped-off lap lane is only open on request to relieve congestion.

Other changes include different hours. The pool now closes at 7 p.m. instead of 7:50 p.m. This change has been administered due to light attendance during late hours and should save money overall.

There are six new lifeguards. The entire staff consists of 10 guards and four interchangeable concession workers. With two assistant managers in training, Shelbie Glissman is the primary assistant manager.

“They are a great group of kids that get along so well. They’re the ones who make it fun,” Allen said about her staff.

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