Iowa City opens splash pads, Coralville opens pools despite potential COVID-19 concerns

Iowa City splash pads will remain open this summer, though the city’s pools are closed. Pools in Coralville are open.

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Jeff Sigmund

Different ways to beat the heat at Fairmeadows Park splash pad , 2500 Miami Dr.As seen on July 10, 2020.

Cole Krutzfield, News Reporter


Locals are looking for a way to cool off as temperatures rise this summer. Despite concerns surrounding COVID-19, Iowa City splash pads and Coralville pools have opened.

Iowa City has kept its splash pads, located in Wetherby Park, Fairmeadows Park, and Tower Court Park, open amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Iowa City Parks and Recreation Director Juli Seydell Johnson said splash pads are administered in a similar way to playgrounds, and the city felt they were safe to open.

“It has been difficult for us to decide what to close and what to open, but we want to provide opportunities for people. Ultimately, however, our primary goal is to keep people safe,” Seydell Johnson said.

The City of Coralville opened pools for the summer on June 29. Coralville Parks and Recreation Director Sherri Proud said there have been many changes on how the pool is operating this summer.

RELATED: Iowa City pool closures lead to increased visitation at Lake Macbride and other alternative swimming sites

“We are only opening up the pools to 30 percent of their maximum attendance,” Proud said. “We are also regularly cleaning down any surface that is used by visitors at the pool and we clean and disinfect the entire pool area at the end of every day. We are also following all recommendations on public safety from the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].”

Proud said that Parks and Recreation is not making any mandatory safety requirements for visitors to the pool.

“When people are out of the water you should always be wearing your mask and you should always be socially distant from other people whenever possible,” she said.

The city decided to reopen pools for the summer because other traditional summer activities for children have already been canceled due to the pandemic, Proud said.

“We know that going to the pool is an important part of summer, especially for many children, and with other pools closed, their options are extremely limited,” she said. “We also wanted people to do as many activities in the summer as we can reasonably allow, and many activities take place at the pool.”

Proud said there will be a constant, citywide effort to keep the pools open for the rest of the summer and ensure it doesn’t cause a rise in COVID-19 cases in Coralville.

“We are constantly remaining in contact with local health officials to ensure peoples’ safety, and we are constantly evaluating the ever-changing situation,” she said. “We have also scheduled weekly meetings with other departments of the city to ensure that we and everybody else stays informed.”

Community Health Manager at Johnson County Public Health Sam Jarvis said it is unclear how the opening of Iowa City splash pads and Coralville pools will affect COVID-19 case counts.

“While we were consulted on the openings and gave our safety recommendations, we also acknowledge that realistically many people won’t be wearing masks or socially distancing — at least to the extent that they should,” Jarvis said.

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