In preparation for its two pool openings over Memorial Day weekend, Laurel's Parks and Recreation director Joanne Barr says the department spent its offseason completing $94,000 worth of maintenance on the Main Street and Greenview Drive pools to ensure swimmers return this summer.
Funded through the city's capital improvement plan, Barr said the improvement projects were combined in a package that was bid out in March, with American Pool beginning maintenance work in early April.
Each year after pools close on Labor Day, staff with the Parks and Recreation department evaluates each facility and determines what work needs to be done, following the pools Labor Day closure.
This year's projects were "major repairs," Barr said.
"We know that this provides us with the long-term security of knowing that our facilities are going to operate," she said. "It is a big undertaking when you do this type of maintenance to your pools."
The Greenview Drive pool complex, in the Greens of Patuxent community, had the most renovations, including a white coat re-plastering of the main and baby pools; tile, coping stone and skimmer replacements; and new LED lighting on the pool walls. The city purchased the facility in 2008, completing bathroom renovations and ADA accessibility before its debut the following summer.
Barr said the city last re-plastered Greenview pool in 2010.
"We did change the color of the tile at Greenview, so it's going to look a little aesthetically different," she said, but "we didn't turn it into a water park or add any slides because we already have those features."
After experiencing a series of significant leaks in the diving well at the Main Street pool complex, the department invested in new main drains, added new skimmer fittings and re-coated the pool's walls.
The Prince George's County Health Department's public swimming pool and spa inspection report requires Laurel city officials to meet adequate standards to remain open, including maintenance of the pool walls and bottom, skimmers and main drains.
"We have to make sure that they're safe," Barr said. "It's not something that the public necessarily sees, but there are the things that we do to ensure that we are maintaining a safe and healthy aquatic environment."
Outside the city of Laurel, swimmers can find the county's largest private pool at the West Laurel Swim Club on Brooklyn Bridge Road. Membership director Greg Karpman said the facility hasn't undergone any major renovations over the offseason.
"We're pretty diligent in closing up, so we minimize any repair or damage work that occurs over the winter," he said. "We're pretty good on upkeep and maintenance to make sure that all of our equipment is in tip-top form, which minimizes expenses for our members. Our pool has been filtering and running water for about a week already and we're ready."
A new main pump was placed into the pool in 2013, Karpman said. This year, the facility staff also hope to schedule food trucks to stop by throughout the summer.
The swim club's website was revamped to provide easier access to information, Karpman added, such as specific pool hours throughout the summer.
The nonprofit, membership-owned facility has an Olympic-sized pool for diving and lap swimming as well as a shallow area; a separate wading pool; and a water slide and basketball hoop.
Restrooms, showers and dressing rooms are available inside the bathhouse and accompanied by a lawn area with pavilions and picnic tables. An indoor snack bar sells sandwiches, drinks and snacks. The facility can be rented for private pool parties, the club's website states.
Memberships, which are open to residents outside of West Laurel, range from $355 to $525 and are based on membership status, age and total number of members.
Hammond Park Pool in North Laurel, another private community swim club, has similar amenities at its facility in the Hammond Village neighborhood near Route 29 and Johns Hopkins Road.
In the main section of the pool, guests can swim in six, 25-meter lanes, or enjoy the three-foot shallow area. A diving board and slide are located in the 12-foot-deep diving well. Nearby, the facility has a baby pool and a new playground for children.
Memberships range from $335 to $1,085, depending on new and returning members as well as individuals, couples or families.