With public pools closed, city will open more spraygrounds as safe alternative

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — With public swimming pools closed, rivers, creeks and streams have become more tempting targets for people who want to cool off from the summer heat.

However, city officials warn there are inherent dangers of doing so. Just a few weeks ago, two teenage boys drowned in the Schuylkill River.

As a way to keep residents safe amid these risks, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation is working to spread more awareness.

“The city is working on signage and possible fencing, starting with high-risk locations, including along portions of the Schuylkill,” said Maita Soukup, spokesperson for Parks and Rec.

The city will also open 91 “spraygrounds” across the city as an alternative to public pools, beginning July 6.

“Spraygrounds will be staffed at all times as required by COVID guidelines,” Soukup said. “There will be a restriction of limited capacity, but there are spraygrounds in every part of the city.”

Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley said they’re still working on alternatives to traditional ways that older adults or people who are immunocompromised can find refuge from the blazing summer heat.

“We think putting vulnerable people in one spot is dangerous for the coronavirus, and we don’t want to do that,” he added.

Farley said they should have a working plan in place shortly.