Summer is almost here, and for those trying to beat the heat, another option will be available this weekend as Odessa Parks and Recreation is opening their pools to the public.
The pools will all be opening at 1 p.m. Saturday, remaining open until Aug. 4. All three pools and two spraygrounds will be open from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day during that period, and until 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.
Odessa Parks and Recreation has pools at Sherwood Park, 4520 N. Dixie Blvd., Woodson Park, 1020 E. Murphy St., and Floyd Gwin Park at 10th St. and West County Road. There are also two spraygrounds free and open to the public at UTPB Park at Highway 191 and East Loop 338 and at McKinney Park, 625 W. Pool Rd.
The entry fee for the pools is $2.50 each for anyone between the ages of 1 and 18, and $4 per every adult under 65. Anyone under 1 year old or over 65 can get in for free.
Not much has changed to any of the pools or spraygrounds this year, Parks and Recreations Director Steve Patton said, but the City Council did approve a $30,000 increase to base operation fees at Sherwood and Woodson Family Aquatic Centers earlier this year at the request of YMCA, who operate the facilities for the city. They did this due to the pools operating at a loss for the first time last year. Patton said this was due to the pools being closed for several days during the last season due to short staff and bad weather.
Patton said he wasn’t sure if he expected to see many days off this year either, or if they were still short-staffed, as YMCA runs the facilities. Joe Rosas, who runs the pools for YMCA, did not return a request for comment.
The higher operations fees, going into higher pay for lifeguards and management, are being paid for by raising the rental rates. Sherwood and Woodson Family Aquatic Centers can be rented after-hours for $385 an hour, $85 more than last year, and the UTPB Sprayground, which had no rental rate beforehand, can now be rented for $235 an hour.
There are cheaper options as well, Patton said. Families or groups can rent a shaded structure for $10 an hour during public pool hours at Sherwood and Woodson Family Aquatic Centers.
Anyone interested in working at the pools for the summer, as a lifeguard, cashier, assistant manager or manager, can call YMCA at 432-362-4301.
Parks and Recreation has two pool parties planned this summer as well. The first will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 12 at Woodson Aquatic Center, with prizes, contests, dancing, free watermelon and a free movie to watch while in the pool. The second party will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. July 19 at Sherwood Aquatic Center
There will be many more opportunities for free movies to watch this summer, as Parks and Recreation will be hosting Movies in the Park every other Friday at various parks. The next showing will be of Christopher Robin at 8:30 May 31 at UTPB Park.
Downtown Odessa will also be hosting Hot Summer Nights this summer, a weekly concert series starting at 8 p.m. June 7 and every Friday, save the week of July 4, through Aug. 9 at Noel Heritage Plaza, 301 W. Fifth St. The music lineups for the events has not been announced yet, but the free outdoor concert series promises music, children’s activities and local food trucks.
More information is available about the events Parks and Recreation will have going on this summer at odessatxparks.org.