OSWEGO — Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said the city pool will not open in 2020 due to health concerns related to COVID-19 just days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said localities would be permitted to open public pools at their discretion.
The Charles E. Gallagher Pool is the latest in a mounting number of facility closures and event cancellations across the country due to the coronavirus that will make the summer of 2020 unlike any in recent memory. Port City parks and playgrounds remain open, but potential health concerns that could be created by opening the city pool, along with a limited window to operate, caused the city to shutter the pool for the season.
“After weighing the pros and cons, I just don’t feel comfortable opening the city pool to small children who are more vulnerable than most to COVID-19,” Barlow told The Palladium-Times on Friday.
In addition to health concerns, the mayor noted state regulations would not have allowed the city to open the pool before July 6, and many of the college students who typically serve as lifeguards return to school by mid-August. The limited window in which the pool could have operated also influenced the decision not to open the facility.
Barlow said the city would be opening the splash pads featured at parks throughout Oswego this summer, but officials “feel the pool is an unnecessary risk at this time.” The city splash pads are located at Franklin Square, Oak Hill and Kingsford parks.
In recent years the city has made several improvements to the Charles E. Gallagher Pool aimed at accommodating smaller children and making the facility more accessible. Barlow said the city would use the summer closure as an opportunity to complete some small improvements to the area, such as installing a large water slide that was purchased last summer.
The Charles E. Gallagher Swimming Pool — located at 6 E. Seventh St. — typically is open seven days a week from June to August. The Oswego Common Council eliminated entrance fees for the pool, which is located near Fort Ontario on the east side of the Oswego River.
Scriba Town Park houses the only other nearby public pool, and town officials said Friday a decision has not yet been made on whether or not the facility would open in 2020.