Full staffing and expanded programming at the Rohnert Park Magnolia Pool met community demand Tuesday, July 10th despite last year’s difficulties in maintaining any service.
For a short time, the future of the Magnolia Pool was suspect. Staffing difficulties caused frequent and unplanned closures that made attending the pool difficult and after a financial evaluation in 2017 found that it possessed the lowest attendance and fiscal return of the city’s three aquatic facilities, the Rohnert Park City Council called a town hall meeting back in January of this year to discuss the pool’s future.
Due to public outcry, the city council voted unanimously to keep the Magnolia Pool open.
“Having three pools is a lot. It’s difficult to manage financially, but the fact that we’ve been able to add programming is definitely a positive sign,” said Rohnert Park Community Services Manager, Cindy Bagley. “Now granted, the pools aren’t open every day, or every hour of every day, but they’re definitely open more than they were last summer.”
The schedule surrounding the Magnolia Pool seemed to work for most people. Despite a four- hour expansion in recreational swimming that pushed out noon laps, the evening lap swimmers were neither crowded nor rushed. They swam up and down the lanes, one to each, breaching at the end for a gasp of air only to dive back beneath the surface for another pass.
“The schedule’s good. I’m just glad to have it back. It was gone for a couple summers,” said evening swimmer, Janel McClain. “There’s usually enough lanes for everybody.”
People in the neighborhood were quick to take advantage of the expanded programs. Rohnert Park local, Cesar Uribe, used to commute in previous summers to Santa Rosa’s Finley Aquatic Center, but this year decided on the Magnolia Pool for his three day a week swim regiment because it was next to his house.
“It saves on gas,” Uribe said, half-in and half-out of the water. “I’m happy, but I’d like more time. Magnolia is open from Monday to Thursday and it would just be nice if it was during the weekdays.”
Unfortunately, there aren’t currently any plans to expand the aquatic services in Rohnert Park at this time, but, according to Bagley, the future for the Magnolia Pool is secure. She claimed her department specifically requested an increase in aquatics funding for this year to ensure adequate staffing for the facility.
“The City of RP is on an upward trend across the board. We’re having new developments come in and the city is seeing better revenue streams,” Bagley said. “As we move forward and we’re able to capture more revenues we will hopefully be able to start adding more opportunities for swim.”
For now, most swimmers at the Magnolia Pool seemed happy just have the facilities open again in their neighborhood.