Fewer Pools, More Crowds in Scranton

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SCRANTON -- On what turned out to be the hottest day so far this year, work crews were pumping water out of the pools at Nay Aug Park in Scranton. Swimmers who stopped by in the scorching heat will have to wait until Saturday.

"It's going to be jam-packed for sure. We will have to find another pool," said Tom Suau of Pittston, who stopped by with his children on Wednesday.

However, it's not the heat but the city's budget crunch that's causing more disappointment.

Normally, there are eight pools open in Scranton. This summer there's only money to open the pools at Nay Aug Park, so crowds are expected to grow.

"It's still fun, just more waiting in line," said Shane Rapasky of Pittston.

DPW officials said later in the summer they may take down fences around the pools to give people more room to sit. But, the pools have a maximum occupancy. So, if there are too many people swimming you may have to sit outside and wait.

"We'll have to do like everyone else does, 10 people go out, 10 people come in," said DPW Director Mark Dougher.

Dougher said he's preparing for unprecedented crowds at Nay Aug Park and  is making special arrangements to make sure it's safe.

"We're going to be doing a lot more testing and stuff like that because we're going to have more amounts of people in the pool. I have a pool operator there at all times, every time the pool is opening until it closes," added Dougher.

The private vendors who sell concessions at the park are preparing too. We found workers cleaning up and stocking shelves for Saturday.

Because there are fewer pools to choose from, these vendors ordered more food for their stand this summer.

"It'll be a good jump in our business, so hopefully it will help us out. I don't know how the pool-goers will feel about it, because it might be a little cramped over there," said Meredith McGrath of Scranton.

One reason Nay Aug's pools are staying open is because you have to pay to use the pool. It's $5 this year.

DPW officials did add that they are getting some of the other city pools ready to go, just in case they get the go-ahead from the mayor to open them this summer.