Syracuse Parks Conservancy issues plea for private donors to raise $100,000 to open Onondaga and Thornden Park pools

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said Friday that the City of Syracuse Parks, Recreation & Youth Programs will open two outdoor pools starting July 16, with new protocols due to COVID-19. He also announced a community campaign to raise money to open two more city pools.

The two pools scheduled to open are Kirk Park Pool and Schiller Park Pool. Both pools will offer free open swim seven days a week from 12 – 6 p.m. Schiller Park Pool will also offer lap swim Monday – Friday, 6:30 – 10 a.m. for $3. Open swim and lap swim will be by reservation only in 40-minute time blocks. One time slot per day will be allowed.

To open more pools in the city in spite of the severe financial impact of COVID-19 on city revenue, the Syracuse Parks Conservancy started a GoFundMe campaign to help ensure #SyracuseSwimsOn. The goal is to raise $100,000 to help offset costs of opening two additional city pools for the 2020 summer season: Onondaga Park Pool and Thornden Park Pool. Information on the campaign can be viewed at

“For many city kids, our pools are the highlight of summer. The thought of having no options this summer was heartbreaking. I’m thrilled that Kirk and Schiller will be open,” Mayor Walsh said. “I’m still hoping we can do more and I appreciate the Syracuse Parks Conservancy launching the #SyracuseSwimsOn campaign. We need help from the community to get Thornden and Onondaga open.”

In keeping with New York State guidance on gatherings, new protocols will include a maximum of 50 people in the pool area at one time. Reservations must be made by calling direct lines designated for each pool location. Reservations for Kirk Park Pool and Schiller Park Pool will begin being accepted July 14 from Noon to 6 p.m. Families should arrive 20 minutes prior to their reservation time for safety checks. Reservations will not be held for late arrivals, and will not be extended for inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances. 

Children under the minimum height requirement must be with a parent or responsible adult over 18 years old. A maximum of three children per adult are allowed. The accompanying adult must be in the water within an arms-reach of children at all times, even when a child is wearing a U.S. Coast Guard Approved flotation device. 

Here are the changes that will be in effect:

  • Reservations must be made for up to 10 people max for open swim and two people for lap swim. Time slots of 40 minutes will be allocated and the pool area will be closed for cleaning in between those times.
  • When reservations are being made, visitors will be asked to select a time period they wish to reserve. Lap Swim time slots for Schiller Pool will be 6:30 to 7:10 a.m., 7:30 to 8:10 a.m., 8:30 to 9:10 a.m., 9:30 to 10:10 a.m. Open swim at Kirk Pool and Schiller Pool will be 12 to 12:40 p.m., 1 to 1:40 p.m., 2 to 2:40 p.m., 3 to 3:40 p.m., 4 to 4:40 p.m., and 5 to 5:40 p.m. 
  • Pool patrons should arrive already dressed in appropriate swimsuit as dressing rooms will not be open to the public.

The following health and safety precautions will be taken at the pool area:

  • Masks must be worn on the pool deck and in restrooms by everyone 2 years of age and older. 
  • Families will need to provide names and contact information for each member included in their reservation.
  • Temperatures will be taken for each pool patron prior to entry.
  • Families of 10 or less will be assigned an area on the pool deck that will be spaced six feet apart from other families. 
  • Staff will clean pool areas throughout the 40-minute time slot and will conduct a deep clean in the 20-minute window between sessions, when the pool area is completely emptied out.

Swimming lessons are canceled until further notice. The remaining outdoor pools at Burnet Park, Lincoln Park, McKinley Park and Wilson Park will not open. The indoor pools at Huntington School, Valley, and the Southwest Community will also remain closed through the summer. 

For more information, call the City of Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation & Youth Programs at 315-473-4330.

Leave a Reply via Social