Concerns about smoke from nearby wildfires affecting recreational activities around town were discussed at the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission meeting Monday evening.
Superintendent Rachel Dials said the Daniel Meyer Pool has been closed for three days as of Monday evening, and that as long as the air quality remains in the unhealthy range, the pool will have to remain closed.
She said the pool has stayed open during air quality in the range of unhealthy for sensitive groups, but that they have to be mindful of their staff’s exposure, and what programs they are offering the public when the air quality is poor.
“We have masks and eyedrops for staff, but they’re exposed to the elements and so, we have to be really careful,” Dials said.
She said if the air quality improves somewhat the pool could reopen by limiting the schedules of outside staff, so they are not exposed for long periods.
“Being a lifeguard or a swim instructor at the pool, you’re exposed to the elements; even going inside, there’s no air conditioning,” Dials said. “We have to be sensitive to that.”
She said that while there are masks available for workers and volunteers at other parks facilities throughout town, the forecast of potentially more fires and continuing smoke means the department will need to monitor the situation closely.
The commission also unanimously approved the request for use of two tennis courts for tentative dates of Aug. 31 through Sept. 3 for a bike polo event. The dates are tentative due to uncertainty about the smoke level.
Erik Michener, event organizer, said there were about 70 attendees at the 2017 event who came from Oregon, Washington, Utah and even France. He said there were so many requests to play at the event, they had to turn some away due to space.
“There was a pretty awesome dichotomy of people that showed up,” Michener said.
The commission also unanimously appointed Ann Bellagia for a three-year term as a community partner on the Senior Program Advisory Committee (S-PAC). Bellagia played a large role on the senior program ad hoc committee, according to Parks and Rec. Director Michael Black. She is currently the Communications and Community Outreach coordinator with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at SOU. OLLI is an educational organization focused on providing mental stimulation and social interaction for older residents.
This position filled the last seat on the committee.
“I think she would add a lot to the S-PAC,” Black said.
The next S-PAC meeting will be at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Ashland Senior Center, 1699 Homes Ave.
The next study session of the parks and recreation commission will be at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Grove, Otte-Peterson Room, 1195 E. Main St., and the next regular meeting will be at 7 p.m. the same day in the Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.
Contact Daily Tidings reporter Caitlin Fowlkes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-776-4496. Follow her on Twitter @cfowlkes6.