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Anonymous donors allowing Omaha to open some outdoor pools

Posted at 3:31 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 00:55:22-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - Mayor Jean Stothert announced good news for city swimmers on Monday.

Stothert said a group of donors contacted her and wanted to pay to open some outdoor pools.

“I want to thank them publicly for their generosity,” said Stothert. “They said get as many open as you can and we will cover it.”

The city said 100 lifeguards are needed to open the five pools. As of Monday afternoon, more than half have already been hired.

Gov. Pete Ricketts announced much of the state is moving to Phase 3 of its reopening plans on June 22. Among other things, Phase 3 loosens restrictions on outdoor gatherings.

Omaha is working towards opening five outdoor pools on July 1. The pools are Roanoke, Elmwood, Hitchcock, Miller Park and Zorinsky.

Stothert previously said the city’s expected loss of revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic would prevent pools from opening this year. The cost to open the five pools is about $700,000.

The city previously announced plans to open indoor pools at Montclair, Common Ground and Mockingbird.

Since the pool season will be shorter, hours will be extended. Instead of the usual 1-6 p.m. hours, pools will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and then 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The pools will close for a half hour so they can be cleaned.

The cost to use the pools will be $2 per person for a shift. The money will go to Food Bank for the Heartland.

“We’re very excited to open our pools. With such a great gift we are receiving, we should give back too,” said Parks Director Brook Bench.

Children under 2 will be able to get in free.

Stothert's Monday press conference can be watched below.