MURRAY — The bad news for locals who enjoy the Murray-Calloway County Pool at Central Park is that Tuesday marked the final day for the facility to be used in 2019. 

The good news is the summertime rite of passage of mixing hot summer weather with water activities is still available at the park. And it is free. 

Today marks the traditional turnover of activity at the pool solely to the Owen’s Station Spray Park, a facility that is situated inside the actual pool complex. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 6 on Sundays, with everyone admitted free of charge. 

“We have lots of people that are still going to be coming out there who enjoy this,” said Murray-Calloway County Parks & Recreation Aquatics Director Mike Sykes. “We still have plenty of warm weather to go once the pool closes, so it’s one of those things where we like to see the facility utilized.”

There is one condition as to whether Owen’s Station is open each day, and that is the air temperature. Sykes said that if the air temperature is forecast to be 80 degrees or above, the park will be open. Traditionally, this pattern stays in place for quite a long time. 

“It’s usually until the end of September that we keep it open, maybe the first of October at the latest, but that’s still a lot of time for people to come out and use it,” Sykes said. 

It used to be that the main pool area (the complex actually has three separate pools, with two for younger swimmers) would stay open until the Labor Day weekend, but that changed several years ago, Sykes said. There were two reasons, he said. 

“One was school was started so much earlier,” he said Tuesday, one day before the 2019-2020 school year began for both Calloway County Schools and the Murray Independent School District. “You used to have school starting later in August, so that meant the pool could stay open longer. What we began seeing is, with school starting so much earlier, people were not using the pool as much. Once school started, they were concentrating more on things associated with that. 

“So, with fewer people using the pool, that meant there wasn’t as much a need for lifeguards, and many of our lifeguards would be starting school too. So they began falling into activities related to that.”

Sykes said no lifeguards are needed for the spray park. 

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