The 2020 pool season at the Gardner Aquatic Center is cancelled.
The decision was based on the current CDC and Reopen Kansas Plan guidelines;it would be very difficult to follow social-distancing and safety recommendations while operating the GAC; and there was insufficient time to rehire and effectively train seasonal staff to help patrons try and follow state guidelines.
About 140-150 seasonal employees are used each year, according to Jason Bruce, parks and recreation director. The proposed 2020 pool budget was $451,105.
There were also a financial consideration due to the economic impact the pandemic has had on the city’s revenues.
“Pools lose money every year,” Bruce said.
The GAC operates at a loss annually under normal circumstances, and the uncertainty of the reopening timeline and the possible re-issuance of additional restrictive orders at a future date puts the city at risk for much higher losses that would be fiscally irresponsible to incur.
Given the safety considerations noted above and the financial impact on the city’s budget, the city made the decision not to open the GAC this season, according to a press release.
Those who already purchased pool passes for the 2020 season will receive a full refund.
With the aquatic center closed, routine maintenance will take place thru the summer, Bruce said.

Gardner Parks and Rec to offer BST season
Gardner plans to offer baseball/softball/t-ball this summer.
All leagues will follow the same timetable as the Tri-County leagues, available to view on the city’s website.
New registration information will be sent out this week and will also be available on the Gardner Parks and Recreation website.
Participants will need to re-register for the new discounted program.
All participants currently registered will automatically receive a full refund.