Parks and Lakes department approves possible collaboration with YMCA at Nichols Park pool

By Benjamin Cox on April 2, 2019 at 9:49am

A potential agreement between Jacksonville and the local YMCA was discussed yesterday.

The City Council Parks and Lakes Committee met yesterday afternoon.

The main purpose of the meeting was to establish whether or not the committee would agree with allowing the Bob Freesen YMCA to access the Nichols Park Pool when it is not in any other form of service.

Committee chair Lori Large-Oldenettel, who serves as a second-ward alderman, was joined by the other members of the committee in agreement that this may be beneficial for the city and the Nichols Park Pool.

Superintendent of Parks and Lakes for the city of Jacksonville Kelly Hall says he and Mary Henry at the Bob Freesen YMCA have started a healthy dialogue.

“I approached Mary over the winter just initially to see if she would be interested in a collaboration between the city and the YMCA at the Nichols Park pool. She was very supportive of the idea, so we’ve met a few more times. Then, we got other people involved and everything has gone very well so far. After receiving this support from the Parks and Lakes committee, we are excited moving forward.”

Hall details some of the ways that the Bob Freesen YMCA might be able to put on programs at the Nichols Park pool.

“The YMCA is looking at utilizing the mornings. We don’t typically open the pool until 12:30 in the summer, so they can have a couple classes on whatever days they choose. They are also looking at some adult fitness aquatics and aquatic Zumba classes, as well as children’s programs and swimming lessons. We’re looking at a considerable amount of use from the YMCA, which we think that is very good for the YMCA, the city, and the community as a whole.”

Hall explains the fact that, in inclement weather, these potential lessons can be moved back to the local YMCA for that day.

“We’re still in the final stages of creating the schedules and working out the fine details. One of the benefits is that if a program is scheduled at the Nichols Park pool and the weather doesn’t look cooperative, it is automatically reverted back to the YMCA.”

It was also mentioned during discussions that the YMCA would likely provide their own lifeguards, meaning 9no additional costs to the city in regards to Nichols Park Pool personnel.