Paula Martin Jones Recreation Center reopens in Longview

WEBXTRA: Paula Martin Jones Recreation Center reopens in Longview

LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - With gyms opening up around the state, the City of Longview decided to allow residents to come back to one of its facilities for a workout or even a swim.

Longview Parks and Recreation Director Scot Caron pointed out all city employees will wear masks when on duty at Paula Martin Jones Recreation Center, which is why we spoke outside.

“We have been preparing the facility since the announcement was made that recreational facilities or fitness centers could reopen as of May 18,” Caron said.

And that cleaning will continue. It has been a bit of a slow launch but that’s because it has many:

“Members that are in the older demographic, and so those are the ones that are most at risk. And so they’re being very cautious in getting back in the community in general and obviously within a facility like this,” Caron said.

Members like Ronnie Washington are returning although he:

“Let my dues lapse while everybody was supposed to be staying home and everything and I come to renew it today,” Washington said.

Inside they’ve social distanced the equipment, and have decided against classes.

“We opted not to be able to do that and just allow the facility to be used by members for their own personal fitness and exercise,” Caron said.

At 25 percent capacity, per Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders, they figured they could let 25 people in.

“Fifteen on the dry side, 10 in the pool,” Caron said.

And speaking of the pool, the city is running short on lifeguards, as they do every year, and are getting a late start training them.

“We get about half returning and half new. So, you know, we need anywhere from 15 to 20 every year, and we’re two months behind,” Caron said.

Once they get lifeguards, the city hopes to have a plan in place for the outdoor pool.

“The diving boards are a high touch area because people put their hands on the rails going up to the diving board,” Caron said.

So for now, well, they’re kind of swimming upstream but they’re confident waters will calm.

Right now Broughton and Green Street Recreation Centers are still closed, and the city hopes to have the pool at Pine Tree High School open to the public by the end of May.

Copyright 2020 KLTV. All rights reserved.