Lexington KY to reopen pools and youth camps this summer


Lifeguard Thomas Priest, right, watches participants lift water foam weights during senior water aerobics class on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at the Picadome Pool in Lexington, Ky. Mayor Linda Gorton has proposed to shut down the Picadome swimming pool in the context of budget cuts. The senior aqua aerobics program will move to the Southland Pool.


Lexington will open its six public swimming pools, four spray grounds and popular youth camps this summer, but those programs will work differently, city officials said on Tuesday.

The city never opened its swimming pools last summer, and many of its traditional summer programs have been cut back due to the coronavirus pandemic. The city was only able to offer a limited number of reduced capacity camps last summer.

Monica Conrad, director of parks and recreation, warned at a Tuesday Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council working session that the city is following state and federal guidelines which can change quickly.

Plans for parks and swimming pools could be adjusted depending on the number of new coronavirus cases.

Conrad said the pools will reopen at reduced capacity. People will need to pre-register for the department’s WebTrac or the online registration form. Time can be booked in three hour segments.

All unoccupied spaces will be available for walk-in customers until capacity is reached.

The Woodland, Southland, Tates Creek and Castlewood pools will open on May 29.

The Shillito and Douglass pools will open on June 5.

The spray areas at Jacobson and Masterson Parks will open on April 24. The Castlewood and Douglass spray areas will open at the same time as the pools at those respective parks.

Conrad said the city will assess later on whether it is safe to offer swimming lessons, swim leagues and aquatics programs for seniors as the season progresses. Annual swimming passes will still be available.

“As the guidelines change, we may find that we have a lot of space,” Conrad said.

Conrad said the park department needed lifeguards and other summer workers.

Camps and Special Events Return After COVID Break

Also this summer, the city’s popular youth summer camp programs, including Kiddie Kapers Dance and Camp Kearney. These camps will start in June and July.

“There are a limited number of participants for these camps,” said Conrad.

Camp registration begins April 20.

“If we can expand them and offer more, we will definitely consider doing it,” Conrad said.

In addition, the city also tentatively plans to resume some popular events – concerts, films and dancing. These events will require pre-registration and will have limited capacity.

Some of these events include:

  • Big Band and Jazz at Moondance Amphitheater from June 1 to July 19. Concerts continue in Ecton Park from July 6 to August 24.
  • Friday Night Flicks, movies for the whole family at Jacobson Park, June 4-25.
  • Northside Nights, nine concerts at Castlewood and Douglass Parks, from June 3 to August 26.
  • Ballet Under the Stars in Woodland Park will be back August 3-8.
  • Dirt Bowl, a popular basketball tournament in Douglass Park, will return from July 20 through August.

This story was originally published March 16, 2021 4:53 pm.

Beth Musgrave covered government and politics for the Herald-Leader for over a decade. A graduate of Northwestern University, she worked as a journalist in Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois and Washington DC

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