The city of Owensboro is planning to open Combest Pool on schedule this year after a belated start last summer due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“We are planning on opening on our normal date,” Jennifer Hodges, assistant recreation facilities manager, said Thursday.

Combest Pool, 1530 McJohnson Ave., is scheduled to open May 29, while plans for the smaller Cravens Pool, 2815 Cravens Ave., are still tentative at this time.

Amanda Rogers, director of Owensboro Parks and Recreation, said the swimming and aquatic guidelines established by Gov. Andy Beshear last summer are still in place. Those guidelines, which limit swimming pool capacity, made it impractical to open Cravens Pool last year.

“With COVID-19 restrictions last year, we put all our resources and people at Combest Pool because it is a much larger pool and we could have 100 swimmers,” Rogers said.

If Beshear relaxes those restrictions, the city will make every effort to open Cravens Pool to the public this year, she said.

“We are hoping that the governor does change those guidelines for this summer because he has reduced guidelines for restaurants and some of those other things,” Rogers said.

Built in 1975 and named after Mary Lee Cravens, Cravens Pool is operating under the state pool code that was in place when it was built, and as long as no significant repairs are needed, it can continue to do so.

“Obviously with it being that many years past, there are a lot of new standards that are required,” she said.

In the event of major equipment failure, the city would have to submit designs to the state, incorporating all of the modern standards. It is something Rogers said would be an extremely costly endeavor.

“At that point, it would be an elected official decision on how we want to move forward at that time,” Rogers said. “It is our intention to try and get that pool up and going this summer.”

Owensboro Parks and Recreation is also offering swimming lessons at Combest Pool this summer for children ages 5 and up. Classes range in skill level and follow the guidelines and procedures set by the American Red Cross. Cost is $56 per person and includes 45 minutes of instruction, 15 minutes of free swim and two free passes to the Edge Ice Center. Classes will begin June 7-11 and are available at 9:15 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. The deadline to register is May 28.

Pool hours for the 2021 season for Combest Pool are from noon until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Saturday and from 1 until 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $3.

Nathan Havenner, Messenger-Inquirer,, 270-228-2837

Nathan Havenner, Messenger-Inquirer,, 270-228-2837

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