Beckley’s New River Park Pool could open as early as June 8th

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 1:06 PM EDT
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BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) - After months of uncertainty, the prospect of Beckley’s New River Park Pool opening for the Summer appears to be extremely likely.

The pool’s re-opening was in limbo for several weeks as city leaders searched for lifeguards and a new pool manager to replace the late Sharon Dempsey.

In an interview with WVVA news on Friday, Parks & Rec. Dir. Leslie Gray Baker confirmed the search is over. She said the city recently hired Raleigh County school teacher Ashleigh Sexton to fill the position. Through her hiring and help recruiting lifeguards, Baker said the earliest they could open the pool is June 8th.

“We have enough (lifeguards) now that we think it will be alright. Just to have someone like Ashleigh, with her maturity in the school system, we feel very comfortable.”

Baker credited their success to a team effort with the YMCA of Southern West Virginia and the hiring company ‘@Work.’

According to the company’s Vice President Noah Capp, “we went after lifeguards immediately and found some pretty quick. We were successful right off the bat. One of the big holdups was the classes for the lifeguards.”

Baker said that was where the YMCA of Southern West Virginia stepped in. They were able to train 44 lifeguards thanks to generous contributions from the Carter Family Foundation, the Kelly Foundation, and the City of Beckley.

“The biggest issue was the cost of certification,” explained the YMCA’s Chief Operating Officer Mathew Bishop. “That’s why I think it’s important that so many of these organizations stepped up and helped overcome that obstacle. Because once that came out, we saw the applications pour in.”

Right now, Baker said the pool just needs five days of clear weather to paint before they start filling it in with water.

“Once we paint it, it has to cure, then it takes three days to fill the pool up. So we’re hoping for June 8th, but if the weather doesn’t cooperate, it may be a few more days.”

Baker said it is also important to point out that the city still has a few concession jobs available. Anyone interested in one of those positions may contact Beckley’s Parks and Rec. Dept.