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Pool Opens
Zachary Saajasto, a lifeguard at Fairview Pool in Normal, kept his eye on Sarah Grilliot, 10, Normal, the only person in the pool, on the first day pools were open in the Twin Cities, Saturday, May 28, 2011. Rain kept most of the kids away as sporadic showers caused area pools to close when the skies looked threatening. (The Pantagraph, David Proeber)

BLOOMINGTON — The water in the Twin Cities’ public swimming pools was ready for some action yesterday, but water from above had different ideas. Bloomington’s Holiday and O’Neil pools had their opening day rained out, but will be ready to go as temperatures rise today.

Fairview Family Aquatic Center in Normal opened an hour before storms hit around noon, and stayed open most of the day.

Barb Wells, superintendent of recreation for the Bloomington Park District, said the city’s pools were all ready for a noon opening, but after the rain and lightning started, they decided to have their season opener today instead.

“It’s safety first,” said Wells. “When we hear thunder or see lightning, we wait 30 minutes until swimmers are allowed back in the pool or on the pool deck.” She said they decided to push back opening day until today because rain was forecast off and on throughout the day.

In Normal, swimmers were able to dip their toes in the water at Fairview for about an hour before the rains came, thanks to their 11 a.m. opening. That was good news for 10-year Kim Halm of Normal, who was first in line to take advantage of the pools, splash park and water slides.

“It’s so fun, and it just helps me get through the last week of school,” said Halm, who attends Unit 5 schools.

Her grandmother, Jody Seip, brought Halm and her 8-year-old brother Kevin to the pool, just as she had done for her own kids.

Seip also said her granddaughter got downright depressed when she learned rain was in the forecast.

“She actually got tears in her eyes,” she said. “She was like a weather watcher all morning.”

Fairview closes for 20 minutes when thunder is heard or lightning sighted. Aquatics Supervisor Joel Dickerson said they usually don’t make a decision to close for the day until at least 3 p.m.

“We try to stay open because it is a service we can provide to the public. It’s also pretty hard to call staff back if you send them home,” said Dickerson of the aquatic center, which on busy days draws up to 2,000 visitors.

Weather permitting, all three pools should be open Sunday. Holiday and O’Neil pools are open weekends and holidays from 12 to 7 p.m. and 1 to 8 p.m. on weekdays. Fairview Family Aquatic Center is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily except when Unit 5 schools are in session, when hours are 4 to 8 p.m.

Anderson Aquatic Center in Normal will open June 4, with hours of 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

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