Foul Weather Foils Fun for Local Pools

Getting wet is not the problem at area pools, but managers say frequent storms over the summer have caused multiple closures and driven away their clientele.

Benwood Pool Manager John Varner said the pool depends on June and early July each year as its busiest season. For whatever reason, he said, pool turnout always begins to decline after the Fourth of July has passed, despite the fact that late July and August can be some of the hottest months of the year.

“It was slower than we expected,” Varner said of the early summer season.

The Benwood Pool opened this year with a number of new features, including two new slides for young residents to enjoy. A filtration problem plagued officials for a few days, but it has been resolved.

On nice days, Varner said, the pool gets 150-250 visitors looking to beat the heat with a cool swim or water sports.

“Very rarely do I close our pool,” Varner said.

Since the pool sells season passes every year, he tries to make sure pass holders get plenty of opportunities to use them.

“It’s been a nice summer, but the weather’s been bad,” McMechen City Pool employee Cindy Brautigan agreed.

But storms were not the only problem this summer for McMechen’s public pool. At the beginning of the season, Brautigan said new filtration tanks had to be installed before the pool could open and the heaters are currently broken and cannot be replaced.

“You never know what’s going to happen until you fill the pool up and turn it on,” Brautigan said.

The pool had to close briefly in June, she said, when the main motor burned up and had to be replaced. Since then, she said, the season has gone smoothly.

The summer has been business as usual for Glen Dale City Pool when the weather was cooperative, according to pool Manager Sarah Blazer.

“When it doesn’t storm, we have a good turnout,” Blazer said.

She said the pool has had to close a few times over the summer due to storms, though she added she often re-opens it as soon as the weather improves.

All three pool workers agreed the rough weather often forces business to a crawl since people start packing up to avoid the thunder and lightning then leave without coming back. While the pools usually re-open after storms pass, Varner said business is always negatively affected for the rest of the day.

“We just can’t control the weather,” Varner said.