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The Journal Gazette

  • Photos by Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Riley Bensan jumps off the diving board Sunday at Bob Arnold Northside Park's swimming pool.

  • Nakema Gates, 3, enjoys the splash pad at Northside Park. The pool will be busy again today with temperatures in the mid-90s.

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette 1 year old Castiel Jay Allen Friesner is elated as he experiences his first ever splash pad with his parents Austin and Angela at the Northside Park swimming pool on Sunday.  

Monday, May 28, 2018 1:00 am

'I'm about to get in now'

Northside pool popular place as temps reach 90s

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Sweltering weather brought visitors to Bob Arnold Northside Park on Sunday for a surefire way to beat the heat – a dip in the pool.

The tennis courts and playground went mostly unused while the aquatic center teemed with life and indistinguishable chatter as children and adults alike played in 79-degree water.

By 2:15 p.m., attendance had already surpassed Saturday's opening day total of just over 200 people. The running tally – the pool closed at 5 p.m. – was approaching 300, said Jenny Barney, director of aquatics for Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation.

Beverly Acosta summarized the reason for her visit in a word: hot.

“If we had a beach, I'd be on the beach,” she said, watching her young nephew on a grassy area while her two teenage nieces splashed.

With people wading seemingly everywhere possible – along with children zipping down slides and jumping off the diving board – there wasn't much space to actually swim.

Lifeguards monitored it all, sometimes sounding their whistles to discourage prohibited behavior.

Matalin Arroyo watched poolside with her 7-week-old daughter, Isabel. The infant dozed on a towel, her pink Minnie Mouse swimsuit dry. Others in their party – including Arroyo's husband, nephew and 3-year-old daughter – were in the water.

“We're taking turns,” she said.

Zakiya Hinton brought her children, ages 2 and 4. Watching them play is “the best part,” she said but added she wasn't going to sit the day out of the water.

“I'm about to get in now,” she said.

Today is expected to be another scorcher. The National Weather Service's Memorial Day forecast calls for sunshine with a high near 95.

When Northside pool opens at 12:30 p.m., Barney expects a large holiday crowd and, if it's really hot, recommends people call 427-6705 in advance to ensure the facility isn't at capacity.

Visitors are turned away when occupancy reaches 500 people, she said.

Daily hours begin Saturday at Northside and McMillen. The pool at Memorial Park opens June 16 and keeps hours Wednesday through Sunday.

Lifeguards are still wanted, Barney said, noting anyone with interest and strong swimming skills can apply.

Visit www.fortwayneparks.org/facilities/family-aquatic-centers.html for more information, including admission rates, season pass information and cooler rules.

asloboda@jg.net