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Columbia pools' closing, due to cool weather, disappoints

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 | 6:27 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Brooke Smith had trouble explaining to her 2-year-old daughter, Alea, that they couldn't swim in the pool at Twin Lakes Recreation Area on Tuesday. Aubray Davis was similarly stumped when she responded to confused complaints from her 2-year-old son, Trey.

Smith, Davis and their mutual friend Cass Wear brought the kids to Twin Lakes around 11 a.m., an hour before they thought Little Mates Cove would open. They spent the interim at the nearby playground. Noon came and went, and when the entrance to the pool remained close, Davis checked online and called a hotline to learn that the pool wouldn't be opening Tuesday.

Outdoor city pools at Twin Lakes, Douglass Park, Lake of the Woods Recreation Area and Albert-Oakland Park were closed Tuesday because of the temperature drop. 

"It's too cold to swim, but I'm getting a tan," Smith said with amazement.

The two moms had expected to treat their children to an afternoon out at what Davis called "the hotspot of the summer, besides my backyard."

Janel Twehous, the recreation supervisor of aquatics for city pools, made the call to close the outdoor pools just before 11 a.m. Tuesday when the temperature was 66 degrees.

Twehous said that although the weather might seem pleasant, the city's policy is to close pools when the highest projected air temperature is below 75 degrees for the day. Columbia's high was 73 degrees Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

"It's not black and white, and you never know what's going to happen," Twehous said. "That's Missouri weather, unfortunately."

Twehous noted that the Activity and Recreation Center was still open. She said 75 children from YMCA Camp Mudd would go to the ARC on Tuesday instead of the Albert-Oakland Family Aquatic Center. Twehous said that the ARC was "booming" and that she had brought in two extra lifeguards in anticipation of increased traffic.

As an alternative to outdoor pools, Twehous recommended that residents instead swim at the ARC, the swimming area at Stephens Lake Park and the spraygrounds at Stephens Lake Park, Douglass Park and Flat Branch Park.

"We're still offering places for people to go and get wet," Twehous said.

The pools will be closed on every day where the high is projected to be below 75 degrees. The decision to close the pools will be made by 11 a.m., Twehous said.

People who want to check whether the pools will be open can call the Columbia Parks and Recreation Swim Hotline at 874-7663.


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