Newburgh residents have been left frustrated after recent, repeated closings of the Delano Hitch Aquatic Center. The center houses the swimming pool, which is open to the public for nine weeks during the summertime. The in-ground pool has a 25 foot high water slide, a 25 meter pool, fountain sprays, a mushroom spray, and a changing facility, complete with lockers and showers.
According to the City of Newburgh’s Recreation Director Derrick Stanton, the pool has experienced some maintenance issues over the last couple of weeks. He cited algae that gathered in the pool as the source of the closings. Stanton said that on occasion some of the heat and rain would hit the grass by the center, and the chemicals that are in the grass would then get carried over by the pool.
Though it’s not difficult to keep the algae out, “it was diagnosing it,” that became an ongoing issue, he said.
He explained that the pool closings were a result of the city trying to figure out where the presence of algae came from. As of right now, all traces of algae have been treated and are gone.
For a pool that is only open from June 24 to August 20 (only nine weeks), many residents often wonder about its brief availability during the summer, and why it also cannot be open for longer hours. Its current swim sessions are from 12:30 to 2:45 p.m. and 3:30 to 5:45 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
The City of Newburgh annually allocates $110,137 from the budget to the Newburgh Aquatic Center.
“It does cost a lot of money to operate,” Stanton said. “You have a pool maintenance manager, a pool manager, you have lifeguards, you have security guards, you have attendants that run the locker rooms. That’s a lot of money right there,” he continued.
Stanton said that the budget money given to the Aquatic Center goes toward up-keep and maintenance of the pool, staff salaries (which include lifeguards, locker room attendants, security guards, a pool manager, and a pool maintenance manager), buying equipment and supplies for the center, the opening and closing of the pool, official apparel for the staff, and certifications for the pool manager and the pool maintenance manager.
Stanton also said that it’s extremely difficult to hire some staff, especially lifeguards. “Most lifeguards are college students. Probably around early to mid-August, they are starting to pack up and head back to college. So, it’s hard to get employees and life guards to actually work at the pool,” he said.