KENOVA, WV (LOOTPRESS) – At the beginning of May, hopes were dim that the Dreamland Pool would be able to open for the 2023 summer swimming season.
Costs for chemicals and concessions were rising and few local teens had applied for positions as lifeguards. In a news release dated May 3, Kenova Mayor Timothy Bias noted that four lifeguards are needed at any given time due to the massive size of the pool (31,250 sq. ft.) and more people would need to apply for the logistics to work. Otherwise, there would be no Dreamland this summer.
That’s when folks showed up for their community pool.
Gordon Jones, the Kenova city planner with nearly five decades of involvement with Dreamland Pool, delivered some good new to Kenova City Council on Thursday night.
According to Jones, 10 certified lifeguards have applied for positions at the pool. Additionally, 15 applicants are signed up at the YMCA of Huntington. He estimated that about 80% of applicants pass the exam, thereby giving Dreamland a pool of about 22 (10 + 12 new) lifeguards.
Jones stated that he believes that this is a sufficient number of lifeguards to cover contracted events, such as company or church picnics, that the city had had to decline in the past due to a lack of available certified lifeguards.
Mayor Bias shared in the optimism expressed by Jones. Bias gave the first weekend in June as the target date for opening, assuming there are no hiccups.
Dreamland Pool first opened in the midst of the Roaring Twenties and, in 1926, was the largest swimming pool in the eastern United Stated (125ft x 250ft). During its halcyon days, the pool had daily attendance figures above 1,000 and doubled a a concert venue for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and Glenn Miller. Attendance these days tops out at about 500 on Saturdays, but that is still a significant number in a small city like Kenova, according to Bias.
The pool has been publicly owned since the 1970s. While the city strives to keep costs low, inflation will mean some increased concession prices and admission will rise for $4 to $6. Mayor Bias noted after the meeting that this was still less than a Big Mac meal.
Dreamland is expected to be open on most days between 11AM-6PM, but swimmers should check Kenova’s Facebook page for weekly detailed schedules.
Click here for full coverage of yesterday’s meeting.