Columbia pools cut operating hours

Friday, May 22, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — In a cost-cutting effort, Columbia's public pools are reducing their operating hours this summer.

In 2008's budget deliberations, the Parks and Recreation Department decided on several budget cuts for local pools for the upcoming summer season. The cuts include eliminating the swimming lake at Pirates' Landing, located in the Twin Lakes Recreation Area on Chapel Hill Road, as well as cutting the hours of all other local area pools, aquatics and outdoor recreation supervisor Janel Twehous said.

The swimming lake at Pirates' Landing will be closed this season because as the summer progresses, the waters of the lake become warmer and attendance drops off, said Erika Coffman, recreation services manager. She said the department expects to save $17,000 by closing the swimming lake. 

Since Stephens Lake Park will remain open, there is no need to keep Pirates’ Landing swimming lake open, Coffman said. She said the majority of patrons are attracted to the Little Mates Cove, a chlorinated water park at the same site.

All hourly cuts to pool sites in Columbia will vary from site to site and day to day. Coffman said the changes in schedules will range from closing 30 minutes to an hour earlier than in previous years.

Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hood said the department projects savings of $19,500 by reducing hours.

The season officially kicks off Saturday with the opening of Albert-Oakland Family Aquatic Center. The other pools will open the first weekend in June.

With Saturday fast approaching, Coffman said Albert-Oakland is doing last-minute maintenance and lifeguard training. Coffman also said Columbia pools will hold one final training session in early June to train last-minute hires as well as returning college students. For more information about becoming a lifeguard, call Twehous at 874-7467.

Albert-Oakland, located at 1900 Blue Ridge Road, will be open the next two weekends from noon to 6 p.m. Starting June 3, Albert-Oakland will be open from noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 6 p.m. on weekends until Aug. 23. Other aquatic facilities will begin opening for the official summer season on June 6. For a complete hourly pool schedule, go to, then click on the "Hours, Fees and Special Events" link.

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