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What about pools? Butler County facilities look past scheduled Memorial Day openings

Fairfield leaders are meeting on May 4, 2020, to discuss the opening of the Fairfield Aquatic Center and some of the larger summer events, including concerts and fireworks. Fairfield Parks and Recreation Director Tiphanie Howard said “health and wellness” is one of the pillars of the department, so every decision is based on the safety of residents and staff. Pictured is the Fairfield Aquatic Center on April 29, 2020. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Fairfield leaders are meeting on May 4, 2020, to discuss the opening of the Fairfield Aquatic Center and some of the larger summer events, including concerts and fireworks. Fairfield Parks and Recreation Director Tiphanie Howard said “health and wellness” is one of the pillars of the department, so every decision is based on the safety of residents and staff. Pictured is the Fairfield Aquatic Center on April 29, 2020. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Here’s what we know: Butler County swimming pools and splash pads will not open as scheduled on Memorial Day weekend after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration extended the stay-at-home orders, renaming it “Stay Safe Ohio,” through May 29.

Here’s what we don’t know: When, or if, the pools and splash pads will open this year.

It appears the water attractions won’t open until the DeWine administration lifts the state’s orders. That means directors are taking a wait-and-see approach.

It may be a long, hot and dry summer for those who enjoy swimming or running through splash pads.

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Hamilton’s eight water features, six splash pads in neighborhoods and two in Marcum Park, won’t open until the city receives the OK from the governor or the city health department, said Steve Timmer, director of Hamilton Parks Conservancy that operates the parks.

Hamilton’s Health Commissioner Kay Farrar said the decision to keep the water attractions closed or reopen will be based on DeWine’s recommendations.

“I do not know when/if that will happen,” she said.

Timmer said the Hamilton water features are assembled for the season and can be operational within one day after chemicals are added.

Middletown is unclear when or if its two splash pads will open, a city official said. The city will follow directions from the governor when to open its splash pads at Douglass and Smith parks.

Fairfield leaders are meeting today to discuss the opening of the Fairfield Aquatic Center, and some of its larger summer events, including concerts and fireworks, said Tiphanie Howard, director of Parks and Recreation.

She said “health and wellness” is one of the pillars of the department, so every decision is based on the safety of residents and staff.

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“Safety is of the up-most importance,” she said.

When asked when the center will open, Howard said: “It’s so hard to make that decision. We’re stuck in a hard place.”

Howard said operating the aquatic center is a “break-even” business for the city.

“That makes it a lot easier decision,” she said.

Still, she said, she would hate not to open the pools because residents enjoy swimming and it gives lifeguards work experience.

She said the center will be closed until at least the renamed “Stay Safe Ohio” order expires, and admitted: “It’s not looking good for Ohio this summer.”

In Oxford, the aquatic center is postponing its opening until the end of June and will not be selling season pool passes, said Jessica Greene, assistant city manager. The city will re-evaluate the pool in late May to see if it will open later in the summer.

She said that decision will be guided by the Butler County General Health District.