Summer beckons water lovers to the Franklin Pool

By Nikole B. Dugger
STAR correspondent

   Don't be fooled by the current weather conditions; spring is in full swing, and summer is just over the horizon.
   With the temperature destined to climb and the kids out of school, what could be more entertaining than a nice, refreshing day at a pool?
   "This is a great facility for the city based on its size, and I hope the citizens will enjoy it," said Mike Mains, director of the city's Parks and Recreation Department.
   Elizabethton's Joe LaPorte Recreation Area Franklin Pool, located off of Elk Avenue, opened over the Memorial Day weekend.
   All of the action is carefully observed by the pool's staff of 14 lifeguards.
   "We have a very senior group of lifeguards," said Mains. "Four or five of the lifeguards have more than three years of experience."
   The second of two diving boards will be installed at the pool later this year. A newly-constructed concession stand is stocked full of hot dogs, pizza, slushes and other comparable treats. A circular kiddie pool is available for the younger swimmers.
   The pool is in operation from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, and from 1 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.
   Mains said there are plans to build picnic pavilions within the specific area, but the ones that are currently operational are maintained by the Sycamore Shoals State Park. Patrons may call the Sycamore Shoals Park office to reserve a picnic pavilion.
   With warm weather setting in, the parks and recreation department expects another banner year for the pool and its facilities before it closes after the Labor Day weekend.
   Daily admission is $3 for adults, and children under the age of 5 are free with a paying adult. Season passes are offered on the basis of $100 for the primary holder and $20 for each additional member of the immediate family. Swimming lessons and rental for pool parties are available after hours. For more information, call 547-6280.