Opening the aquatics center for the summer swim season could happen around the third week of June, Mineral Wells City Council was told Tuesday.

The Parks and Recreation Department is targeting a June 19 date to open the West City Park swim facility to the public. City officials had to put opening the pools on hold because of the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

However, Gov. Greg Abbott has cleared opening public pools with capacity restrictions and other health and safety protocols in place.

City Manager Randy Criswell said over the last two weeks Parks and Rec Director Andy Tarkington and his staff have been "aggressively interviewing lifeguards."

There were concerns that starting the hiring process would adversely impact operations, Criswell said it appears there will be enough lifeguards and staff in place. Now it is a matter of lifeguard training and certifications over the next few weeks. Otherwise, the facility is ready to open, Criswell said.

"We believe we have the staff where we can staff the pool," he told council in another meeting conducted via an online video conference call. "We feel good about that."

The pool will operate at 50% capacity unless the governor makes a change from his current order – meaning capacities could be reduced, or increased, depending on COVID-19 case reports in the coming days and weeks.

Criswell said additional protocols needed to operate the swim facility under state guidelines could result in increased costs of as much as $22,000 this summer. He said a loss of revenue is also expected.

"The public listens to the governor's press conference but he doesn't go into all the additional hoops we have to jump through," said Ward 4 Councilman Doyle Light.

The Mineral Wells Moccasins swim team's competitive season has been cancelled by the Texas Athletic Amateur Federation.

Tarkington said the parks department will accept shelter and facility use rentals for parties, but groups will have to adhere to capacity and health guidelines.

He said once open to the public, new pool hours will be noon- 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 1-6 p.m. on Sundays. The pool be closed Mondays for maintenance.

"I believe the consensus of the council is good job and keep going," said Mayor Tammy Underwood.

Also the parks department plans to have summer swim lessons and allow regular and senior aerobics classes but those beginning dates have not been confirmed.

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