After months of uncertainty, the Medford City Council has officially taken steps to have as normal of a summer as possible.

During the regular City Council meeting Monday, board members unanimously approved getting the Medford Pool up and running by the end of the month, with a targeted opening of Monday, June 29.

“Council members have been contacted by parents in town who are looking for entertainment and recreational options for over the summer,” said City Administrator Andy Welti. “After consulting with a handful of other cities in the area who are opening their pools, we felt this was the decision we wanted to take.”

When the pool opens, Welti said pool staff will hold swimming lessons and a water aerobics class, but that an exact programschedule is yet to be determined. Originally, Welti had suggested to the council that water aerobics not be offered during the 2020 season due to both staffing needs and the additional exposure it would put on the program’s participants, the majority who are in the high-risk category for COVID-19. Mayor Lois Nelson and members of the council argued passionately that the public wants the water aerobics classes offered, and therefore agreed to schedule either a morning or afternoon class.

Only daily passes will be sold at the pool this summer. Welti said that the maximum capacity allowed in the pool during opening week will be 40, though it could be increased to 50 if it is decided that safe social distancing can be maintained.

The pool is currently scheduled to close on Aug. 14, one week earlier than normal.

The city was able to hire one new lifeguard who obtained certification. Welti said that two additional lifeguards will be hired to work in the guard shack and perform other duties such as sanitizing public areas until they are able to take classes and obtain their certification. He said that finding lifeguard certification classes continues to be a challenge during the ongoing pandemic.

“We have adequate staff in order to open,” Welti said.

Also during the meeting, council members unanimously granted the Medford Volunteer Firemans Relief Association a temporary liquor license in preparation for the annual street dance on July 25.

As of June 10, the state opened up outdoor events and entertainment for up to 250 people, so long as social distancing is maintained. According to Welti, the association will have up to 10 days prior to the event to cancel the license without accruing additional fees if the state were to change the restrictions in a way that would prevent the dance from happening.

The dance is planned to be held in the City Hall parking lot.

The council also filled two vacant board positions on Monday following recommendations from the mayor. Tom Harris was appointed to the Planning and Zoning Board, a spot left vacant by Matt Rosenbaum. Bianca Ward was appointed to fill a vacant position on the Park Board.

Reach Reporter Annie Granlund at 507-444-2378 or follow her on Twitter @OPPAnnie. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota.

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