- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 26, 2009

CITIZEN JOURNALISM:

Memorial Day has long been considered the unofficial beginning of summertime traditions, including the opening of public swimming pools. But for some Montgomery County residents, Memorial Day was something of a disappointment - three facilities did not open for holiday splashes, and one of them will be closed all season long.

Custom drains and grating must still be installed at the three pools to meet federal standards. Then-President Bush signed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act of 2007, and it took effect in December. The law mandates that residential and public pools install anti-entrapment drain covers as a child-safety measure. It was named in honor of a granddaughter of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III. Graeme, as they called her, drowned in 2002.

The Montgomery County recreation department has been working to bring pools into compliance, but the upgrades have taken longer than anticipated.

The following pools are closed:

• The main pool at Bethesda Outdoor Pool, 6300 Little Falls Parkway

• The leisure pool at Germantown Pool, 18905 Kings View Drive

• The leisure pool at Wheaton-Glenmont Pool, 12621 Dalewood Drive

In addition, the Montgomery Aquatic Center in North Bethesda will be closed through mid-September for repairs. Repairs at the center, at 5900 Executive Blvd., will include replacement of the dive tower and slide platform, and the walls and floor of the pool will be resurfaced.

Meanwhile, there’s plenty of water play at the Gaithersburg Water Park, which opened for the season on Saturday. The park is operating on a limited schedule while school is in session. Call 301/258-6445 or visit www.gaithersburgmd.gov/waterpark for schedules and admission fees.

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