Asheville Parks & Recreation has important information to share regarding the community’s two public swimming pools. Recreation Park Pool (65 Gashes Creek Rd.) reopened on Friday, June 17 after closing for a week following the discovery of broken glass in the water. Malvern Hills Pool (75 Rumbough Pl.) will not open this year after a safety concern was discovered during its annual inspection.
Recreation Park Pool
Recreation Park Pool opened for the season on June 11 after resurfacing and other preventative repairs delayed the original schedule of Memorial Day weekend. Less than an hour later, a broken glass bottle was found near the pool’s perimeter and pieces of glass were discovered in the water. The pool was drained, swept, and power washed. In order to bring this popular public asset back into service, Parks & Recreation team members worked with colleagues in the Water Resources Department and Asheville Fire Department to refill the pool using multiple hydrants and larger hoses. Generally, local firefighters do not fill swimming pools. In light of this week’s heat wave, the City of Asheville wanted to return public access to the space as quickly as possible.
Regular operating hours for Recreation Park Pool are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, 1-6 p.m. on Sunday, and 12-6 p.m. Monday-Friday. Admission is $3 per person. Season passes are $100 for an individual or $150 for a family of up to four individuals. For information about pool schedules, swim lessons, and private parties, visit ashevillecitypools.com.
Malvern Hills Pool
The City’s other public pool will not open in 2022. During its annual inspection, Buncombe County Environmental Health identified a drain cover that had come out of compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (VGB), a set of regulations enacted to avoid entrapment hazards which occur when powerful suction from a pool’s water circulation system causes someone to become trapped under water. VGB-approved drain covers would generally be available, but manufacturers are experiencing supply chain delays. After several weeks of searching for this essential safety component, Asheville Parks & Recreation has accepted the reality that the required materials will simply not be available in time to open Malvern Hills Pool this year.
Asheville Parks & Recreation staff are scheduling free Malvern Thrills water-centric play days to take place in the park throughout the summer. Dates and further details will be announced soon.
Community members are invited to join Asheville Parks & Recreation Director D. Tyrell McGirt during a community conversation in the Malvern Hills Park picnic shelter at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 22. He will cover the process that led to this decision and address questions and concerns. For those unable to attend, questions may be submitted in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Answers to Community Questions
Why wasn’t this discovered sooner? Why aren’t the drain covers readily available?
The concern regarding compliance was identified during the pool’s annual inspection by Buncombe County Environmental Health. VGB-approved drain covers that were manufactured prior to May 24, 2021 would generally be readily available. However, many manufacturers have experienced supply chain delays which has increased the length of time it takes to procure those materials.
Can’t you just open the pool without the drain covers?
All public swimming pools must obtain a “Public Swimming Pool Operation Permit” in order to operate. In order to obtain a permit, swimming pools and spas must have main drain covers secured and in good repair, no suction hazard. Drains must be covered by cover/grates that are certified as meeting the ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 standard.
Are other cities dealing with this issue?
Yes. Other cities and recreation agencies have experienced compliance concerns and taken a variety of approaches to bring their facilities back into compliance.
Are you sure the pool won’t open this summer?
Unfortunately, Malvern Hills Pool will not open for the 2022 swim season. However, staff are working diligently to develop an acceptable repair and/or renovation plan that will bring the drain covers back into compliance prior to the start of the 2023 swim season.
My child is enrolled in a summer camp at Malvern Hills Park. Can I get a refund since they will not be able to swim at Malvern Hills Pool?
Absolutely. You may also move your child to another site based on availability. Please work directly with your site director to explore either option. Summer camp staff members are also working to host more fun water activities at the park and participants can swim at Recreation Park Pool during field trips.
I reserved the Malvern Hills Park picnic shelter because we intended to incorporate a pool visit into our celebration. What are my options?
Asheville Parks & Recreation staff are in the process of contacting all community members with existing reservations. Reservations can be transferred to other available picnic shelters. Recreation Park Pool features a patio with picnic tables available on a first-come basis and outside food items may be brought to the pool. We can also issue a refund.
Asheville Parks & Recreation also operates Splasheville, a no-charge interactive splash pad in Pack Square Park (80 Court Plaza). A neighborhood pool under construction at Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Community Center (285 Livingston St.) is expected to open next summer.
Asheville Parks & Recreation
Established in 1954, the Asheville Parks & Recreation Department manages a unique collection of more than 65 public parks, playgrounds, and open spaces throughout the city in a system that also includes full-complex recreation centers, swimming pools, Riverside Cemetery, sports fields and courts, and community centers that offer a variety of wellness-, education-, and culture-related programs for Ashevillians of all ages. With 8 miles of paved greenways and numerous natural surface trails, its complete portfolio acts as the foundation of a vibrant hub for the people of Asheville to connect with their neighbors and explore the natural beauty of a livable and walkable city.
Driven by the promise that Asheville is a better and safer place when everyone from infants to retirees has the opportunity to be supported, healthy, and successful, Asheville Parks & Recreation was the first nationally-accredited municipal recreation department in the United States. For the latest updates, follow the department on Facebook @aprca and Instagram @ashevilleparksandrecreation or visit www.ashevillenc.gov/parks.