Frequently Asked Questions

6/4/2020: Season Opening Update

Hello 2019 and 2020 Heather Pool Members and Stockholders!

 

I am writing with some exciting news: We are opening the pool!! 

 

With the somewhat head spinning announcements this Monday (i.e., executive order 2020-110), outdoor swimming pools in Michigan are now allowed to open on Monday, June 8. As we have been proceeding with pool opening preparations under the hope that we would be able to open, we have the pool filled and ready to go, our water sample and paperwork has been submitted to the Kent County Health Department, and although we are still awaiting final clearance we are very hopeful that we’ll be able to open on Monday! We can’t wait to kick off the summer with some semblance of normality!

 

We do still have memberships available, so if you’ve been delaying signing up while waiting for more clarity, now is the time! https://www.heatherdownspool.com/membership-registration-form is the direct link. 

 

Our Pool Manager this year is Lexi Willison; she has worked at the pool since 2014, including as Manager during the 2018 season, and knows the pool operations inside and out. The Assistant Manager this year is Joe Klug; who will also be a familiar face to many as he’s been with us since 2017. We’re very excited to have them both onboard, as well as many other both new and returning lifeguards. Please look out for more updates from the staff as we begin the season. 

 

After that burst of initial excitement, here comes the fine print. I know this email is long, but please bear with me.

 

The pool season is not going to look the same this year as a normal year. We had a meeting with the Board and senior staff on Tuesday to hash out a lot of the details, weighing regulations in executive orders, guidance from the CDC and Kent County Health Department, our own knowledge of our facility and members, and trying to come up with a plan that will allow us to enjoy the pool this summer while still complying with applicable rules and keeping everybody as safe as we can.

Here are some of the most significant differences:

  • We will be operating at 50% capacity, as mandated in order 2020-110. In our case that means that we will cap attendance at 50 people at any given time.

  • Everybody will be required to check in and check out with a guard at the concession stand, so that we can make sure we do not exceed capacity and so that we have an accurate record that can be used for contact tracing, in case there is a positive case among members or staff.

  • We have decided to extend the pool hours to help alleviate potential crowding issues. We will be opening at 10 am on most days, as opposed to noon during a typical year. We encourage members to enjoy the pool during less busy times. (Mid afternoon is typically the most busy.)

  • Only members will be allowed this season; no guests.

  • The pool deck will be rearranged for greater distance between loungers, and everybody is required to maintain a 6 ft distance between themselves and others who are not members of their own household.

  • Most additional activities and events that we usually enjoy, such as member potluck, movie nights, swim team, swim lessons, picnic area rental for parties, etc, will not happen this year, as they are not conducive to physical distancing.

  • This probably goes without saying, but anyone showing the least symptom of illness should not be attending the pool. 

 

Your membership packet that will be available at the pool will include this information, as well as our regular rules and an additional waiver. We will require an adult to pick up the packet and sign the waiver before any family member is allowed to use the pool.

 

The pool season is long, at least in pandemic time, and many things could change for either better or worse over the next three months. We will monitor the situation and may make adjustments as we go, but this is the starting point for now. We’re including a Questions and Answers document that has more detailed information; don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions that are not covered, or any comments or suggestions - this is very new for all of us, and we appreciate your patience while we are navigating this situation. 

 

We will have some additional staffing to help facilitate the new world order (as well as perform additional cleaning and sanitation), but ultimately we expect all our members to be respectful of these rules that are there for the safety of the whole community. We do understand that children are not good at physical distancing, so please make a realistic assessment of your own child’s abilities and required supervision, and don’t rely on the guards to be the “bad cops”.

 

If you and your family don’t feel comfortable attending the pool under these circumstances, we understand, and we hope to see you back next year. Please contact membershipheatherdownspool@gmail.com for a full, no-questions-asked refund of your membership fee. We only ask that you do so as soon as possible (certainly before the pool opens) so that we can offer the membership spot to another family.

 

With all that’s happened over the past few months, it will be wonderful to spend time together at the pool this summer. Hope to see you soon!

 

Jenny Berglund, HDCPA Board President

On behalf of the Board and Staff

5/20/2020: COVID-19 Update

Hope you’re all staying healthy and hanging in there. With the Memorial Day weekend rapidly approaching, here is another update about what’s going on at and with the pool. 

It probably comes as a surprise to nobody that we will not be opening as per our usual schedule this year, which would have been this Saturday May 23. Right now we have very little guidance to go by, but we do know from the Kent County Health Department that no pool will be permitted to open while executive order 2020-69 (restrictions on places of public accommodations; currently scheduled to expire on May 28) is still in effect. If and when we are allowed to open, we also don’t know what additional limitations and restrictions will be necessary, although we can probably assume at the very least that the pool and deck capacity will be limited compared to a typical year. We’re monitoring the situation as best we can, and also communicating with our sister pools in the area as we try to figure out how to handle a very strange and novel situation.

One piece of sad news: After discussions with all 4 participating pools, the decision has been made to cancel the Swim League this season. The nature of practices and meets is not conducive to physical distancing, and we have not been able to figure out a way to run the league that would be safe while still fun for the participants. If you have already signed up your child for Swim Team, you will be refunded the participation fee.

On the more hopeful side, we are proceeding with steps to prepare the pool for the summer. We have definitely not given up on the idea that there will be a pool season this year! As of right now, the pool has been drained and cleaned and we are preparing for some patching and paint work before filling it up.
 

Membership registration is still open, and if you’ve not signed up for this year yet it’s not too late to do so! https://www.heatherdownspool.com/membership-registration-form is the direct link. 

  • If you do sign up and the pool season gets cancelled, the membership payment will be refunded in full. 

  • We will also give prorated refunds if the season is significantly shorter than normal (exact calculation TBD).

  • If you have already registered (perhaps before the start of the pandemic) but feel the need to withdraw at this point, whether for financial reasons or due to health concerns, please contact our Membership Director Rhonda Markham at membershipheatherdownspool@gmail.com.

We will keep you posted as things become clearer. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions (although we still don’t really have all the answers), comments, or suggestions for us as we try to figure out what this summer is going to look like.

Fingers crossed that we’ll see you at the pool in June!

4/16/2020: COVID-19 Update from the Board about the 2020 Season

The big question: Will we be able to open the pool as scheduled, or even at all? 

We just don’t know. As of right now, we are planning optimistically, so we are proceeding with steps we would normally be taking at this time to prepare for the opening of the pool, although even that is more challenging this year, for obvious reasons. Ultimately the decision of if, when, and how we’ll be able to open is going to be mostly out of our hands.

 

What we do know:

  • We want to do the right thing for our members and be as flexible as we can at this time.

  • Membership registration is open, and definitely go ahead and register if you are comfortable doing so. But to ease the time pressure we are extending the early-bird membership pricing ($520 for annual members, which was due to increase on May 1st) for the rest of the season.

    • Do note that we are NOT extending the guarantee of a membership spot for returning members past the original April 30 date. This is because we need to be able to confirm that new members who have already registered will in fact get a spot. Beginning May 1st, all memberships will be on a first-come, first-served basis. That said, as you can probably imagine we are currently not close to filling up for the 2020 season. 

  • Refund policy (we’ve been getting a few questions about this):

    • If the pool season gets completely cancelled, any membership dues will be refunded in full.

    • If the season gets significantly shortened, we will offer some sort of prorated refunds on membership dues (exact calculation TBD).

    • Same with Swim Team and Swim Lessons - full or partial refunds will be given if the activities are cancelled or shortened.

  • If you have already registered (perhaps before the start of the pandemic) but feel the need to un-register at this point, whether for financial reasons or due to health concerns, please contact our Membership Director Rhonda Markham at membershipheatherdownspool@gmail.com.

 

We will keep you posted as things become clearer. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, although we may not necessarily have the answers right now.

 

Fingers crossed that we’ll see you at the pool this summer!

How do families benefit from a pool membership?

Most of our members are neighbors who live near the pool. They value having this entertainment for the kids while paying a fraction of the cost (not to mention liability) of having a pool in their own yard. Our member families’ access to swimming lessons create confident swimmers and lifelong skills that open the door to fun, sports and safety around water. Members also enjoy connecting with neighbors and having a fun place to hang out with their kids in the summer.

Who is a pool stockholder and what are the benefits of being a stockholder?

There are 60 homes close to the pool whose original owners opted in as stockholders when the pool and subdivision were built in 1961. The owners of these homes are the pool stockholders. For a map showing the stockholder homes, click here.

Stockholders pay a lower membership rate as outlined in our bylaws. Stockholders may have an “active” or “inactive” membership. An inactive stockholder is allowed three visits to the pool in a season. Active stockholders have unlimited visits and are able to hold a board position and vote. Stockholders are invited to the annual stockholder meeting.

 

Stockholders who wish to have an active membership should use the membership registration form. Dues for inactive stockholder memberships can be paid here.

Where is the concussion form?

The concussion form can be downloaded here. A signed concussion form is required for all Swim Team and Swim Lesson participants.

What are the Pool Rules?

The pool rules are available here.

What is the guest policy?

Members are allowed to bring guests to the pool, using our guest passes. Each membership includes 5 free guest passes. Additional guest passes can be purchased for $5 each, or $20 for a sheet of 10 passes. Each guest pass is valid for a single guest on a single day in the pool season indicated on the guest pass.

 

Members must sign in their guests when they enter the pool, and guests must follow the same rules as our members. You are allowed to bring any one guest a maximum of 5 times in a season; there is no limit to the number of different guests our members can bring.

Do you offer a punch card?

No, we don’t. We rely on the membership fees of our annual members and stockholders to support the costs of the pool. Chemicals, paint, lifeguards, utilities, insurance, and pool equipment are just some of the costs of running a pool. We need these things on a daily basis, not just on the days that people want to swim. The logistics of maintaining a punch card paired with the loss of revenue makes it prohibitive for us to offer this at this time.

How do I apply for a job as a lifeguard?

If you are interested in working for the pool, please contact our Pool Manager Lexi Willison directly at elexa.willison@gmail.com. Must be a certified lifeguard and at least 15 years old. We are currently at guard capacity for the 2020 season and are no longer hiring.

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Heather Downs Pool Association

2100 Heather St. SE
East Grand Rapids, MI 49506
 Tel: 616-228-8620
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© 2017 Heather Downs Pool Association