WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The City of Wichita tells KSN Tuesday it does not anticipate opening pools and splash pads until 2021.
City officials say it comes down to three factors, budget, safety and making future improvements.
“I went to this pool a year ago and that is probably the last time I went,” says Isabelle Cordova.
Isabelle has been going to the Minisa Pool with her Great Grandmother Madeline Ontoberos for a long time.
“For years and years and years,” says Ontoberos.
It will be at least one more year before she and her great grandmother can go again.
“We are going to miss it,” says Ontoberos.
City pools will be dry for the rest of 2020 will not be filled with water.
“It is really sad for the kids,” says Chad Wingelaar. “Especially in the summertime, they are not able to go to the pools and release some energy.”
Chad and Amanda Wingelaar’s daughter 2-year-old Brooklyn was looking forward to swimming lessons this year and getting out of the house after being cooped up for months.
“It really kind of stinks that there are no pools open that they can have those couple of hours to get some sun,” says Amanda Wingelaar.
KSN asked the City of Wichita for weeks what its plans for weeks are and officials sent this email.
The City does not anticipate opening pools this year. The reasons are threefold:
- The uncertainty still presented by COVID-19 – we have heard of outbreaks at pools in other communities and we want to ensure we’re being as safe as possible.
- The budget shortfall caused by the pandemic requires some temporary service adjustments.
- The City Council has decided to move forward with both Phases 1 and 2 of the pool and splash pad improvements so the work and keeping pools closed this season will allow them to be completed in time for the 2021 swim season.
“As we go through the budget process we have to figure out if it makes sense budgetarily to open up those pools this year knowing that we have to cut over $11 million out of the budget,” says Councilman James Clendenin.
“I am probably going to go to my friends pool,” Cordova.
It leaves families like the Wingelaars figuring out where they can swim for the rest of 2020.
“That is the goal,” says Wingelaar.