By Amanda Ensinger
Prairie Township Community Center Director Michael Pollack said there will be some changes this fall.
“We have updated the hours to reflect the hours we are seeing the most members come in,” Pollack said at a recent board of trustees meeting. “This will align with our usage pattern and will make the most sense from an operations perspective.”
The revised hours will be from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 12 to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Pollack said with the pool and other activities continuing to not be offered, the center is seeing attendance lower on Friday and Saturday, so keeping the center open extended hours didn’t make sense.
Pollack added that the community center pool will stay closed.
“We are continuing to evaluate the COVID-19 trends and see what impact schools and colleges being reopened are having on the public health emergency,” Pollack said. “We also are looking at what other communities are doing who have indoor pools and seeing what makes the most sense to do.”
The township wants to see if the virus infection numbers in Franklin County will increase, as they did in July, or go down before they decide when the pool will reopen.
“We want to make sure there isn’t another surge before we make any decisions,” he said. “We haven’t forgotten about the pool, but we need to see what our capacity can safely be before we reopen it.”
Pollack said the pool can safely allow a small number of people to swim at once, so it financially doesn’t make sense for the township to reopen it until it can be used by more people at the same time.
Once the pool is open, officials want to keep it open because the expenses of filling it and continuing to maintain it are costly.
“We can’t say we are going to reopen it on a specific date right now,” Pollack said. “We don’t have a timetable on this and need to see how things progress in the county first. We want to reopen the pool and have not forgotten about it; we just aren’t there yet.”
As a result of the pool being closed, annual events like the Pumpkin Swim will not be taking place this year. The township also will not be doing its annual Halloween Trail event.
However, the center has reopened its childcare room for members.
“While childcare is now open, we have limitation on capacity and have made significant changes to the guidelines,” Pollack said. “Previously, children 6 months of age and up could come to the room, now only children 3-9 years old can be in the room.”
Pollack said the reason for this is the added risk with children that are so young, as well as staff ratio needed when infants are in the room.
Pollack said once the childcare room is open for a while, officials will revaluate.
“We like to start with the strictest guidelines and then slowly ease up,” he said. “It is easier to loosen up restrictions than tighten them up later.”
Members who want to utilize the Prairiedise Childcare Room can either purchase a full membership that includes childcare for an additional $20 a month, pay $2.50 an hour per child and a $1 an hour per additional child or purchase a 10-hour discount card for $22.50 or a 50-hour discount card for $100.
Children are limited to one hour maximum in the childcare room each time they visit.