By Debra Moore
Coronavirus has claimed another victim — swimming at the Pioneer Park pool in Quincy.
“We as a district decided to close the pool for the season,” said James Shipp, general manager of the Central Plumas Recreation and Park District, during an interview June 8.
Many factors contributed to the final decision: the inability to train lifeguards during the stay-at-home order; the cancellation of the High Sierra Music Festival and with it the critical funding the district receives from the event; ongoing social distancing which impacts swimming lessons and recreational swims; the state’s lack of guidelines to reopen public pools, and the cost of increased sanitation and maintenance should pools be allowed to reopen.
“We would need more staff and would have less people to pay for it,” Shipp said, but he is aware of how disappointed families will be to not have the pool available this summer.
But there is a bit of a silver lining. Shipp and his staff are going to use this time to begin necessary renovations. “If we close the pool, we can start to do the renovations ourselves,” he said, while pursuing state funding and a contractor to do the bulk of the work.
Last summer, the recreation district launched a fundraising campaign called “Save the Pool” designed to gather $250,000 in donations to revitalize and maintain the facility. In addition to fundraising efforts, the rec district is pursuing $200,000 in Prop. 68 funds from the state.
And it’s not just the pool. Shipp, and his maintenance staff, including lifeguards who otherwise wouldn’t have work at the district, will tackle a variety of projects that need to be completed.
As for other rec district amenities — the skate park, pavilion area and playground — they remain closed.
Since golf has been on the state’s list of approved activities, Shipp is offering a junior golf clinic, which has already sold out, and he is planning a 9-hole clinic for older youth.
“We are trying to use what’s available,” he said, however, “Softball is still out and we are still wondering about the July soccer camp.”
As is the case with just about every entity, it’s the uncertainty that makes planning difficult.
“It changes daily,” Shipp said.