By Jim Bloch
Instead of brimming with clear, sky blue water, the outdoor community pool in St. Clair will remain sheathed in a dark funereal tarp this summer, a recreational victim of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There was a lot of discussion at the last city council meeting about the pool and our summer playground program,” noted recreation director Trice Hawkins at the June 15 meeting of the St. Clair City Council. “We did decide not to open our pool.”
She discussed other rec activities that will be offered this summer and may help fill the void.
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The recreation department posted an explanation on the city’s website.
“St. Clair, like many communities across the state has been rapidly trying to adjust to the unexpected decision to open pools,” said the statement. “This change by the Governor has many communities searching for qualified lifeguards. The pool takes one week to clean and make operational. It then takes up to two weeks to stabilize the water for the County inspection. Even if we had adequate staffing, it would be at least three weeks before the pool could open.”
Opening the pool would mean collapsing a typical three-month process into a few weeks.
“The St. Clair pool normally advertises positions in March, hires staff in April, trains in May and opens in early June,” the rec department said. “With the uncertainty of many of the early Executive Orders the City in good conscience could not hire lifeguards in April for a pool that at that point did not appear would open. As a result, many of the potential lifeguards found other employment for the summer. This has left St. Clair without enough qualified lifeguards to open safely.”
The city-sponsored concerts in the riverfront Palmer Park will return this summer, although about three weeks late than normal.
The concerts begin at 7 p.m. each Friday, July 10-31.
The rock band Dusk to Dawn open the series on July 10. The modern country band from Northville, Rye Whiskey, takes the stage on July 17. Twelve-string guitar maestro Cliff Erickson plays July 24. Elvis fans will cheer the return of tribute act Darren Hagel and the Burning Love Band on July 31.
Recreation on the Go
Every Tuesday through Aug. 25, the St. Clair Recreation will distribute free “Recreation on the Go” activity bags to area children in Greig Park, 10-11 a.m. The park is immediately north of city hall on Carney Drive.
Children do not need to be residents of St. Clair to take home a bag.
There is no charge to participate and a one-bag limit per family.
Each bag contains three activities that vary weekly, something related to art, something related to physical fitness and something related to summer.
About 200 bags will be available each Tuesday. Leftover bags, if there are any, may be picked up at city halls until 4:30 p.m. each Tuesday.
Marysville and Port Huron offer identical give-aways.
The program is sponsored by Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, the Ralph Wilson, Jr. Foundation and a local program called SportPort.