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Winter is the best season for Klamath Falls pool

Municipally owned Ella Redkey Pool is going to get a major facelift
Courtesy photoPool manager Brielle George says winter is the best season to swim in the geothermally heated Redkey Pool in Klamath Falls.
Courtesy photoAn artistic rendering shows plans for Redkey Pool, a city-owned pool in Klamath Falls.

KLAMATH FALLS — Swimming in the outdoor Ella Redkey Pool any time of the year is a treat. But for Brielle George, the best season is just beginning.

“This is the perfect time to come to the pool because it’s so warm and it feels so good,” George, the pool’s manager, says of swimming at the Redkey when it’s cold or even snowy outside. “It’s amazing, delightful in the snow or when it’s freezing because the water is so warm.”

When other outdoor pools in colder climates close for the winter, the Redkey remains open year-round with water temperatures a comfortable 85 degrees. And whether taking a break from swimming laps or being in a water aerobics class, George savors views from the warm water pool, whether stars and constellations in a clear early morning or the sights of ever-changing shaped afternoon clouds.

“It’s unique,” she says of swimming outdoors in seasons when others move indoors. “We often don’t realize what a treasure we have at our fingertips in our backyard.”

George and other supporters of the Redkey, which is owned and managed by the city of Klamath Falls, earlier this month launched a $150,000 fundraising campaign aimed at making pool visits even more memorable. The effort includes a plan to develop a plaza and ADA walkway, replace the existing water slide, and upgrade the locker rooms.

“The projects are transformative,” George says. “We’re excited because the projects will enhance each visitor’s visit.”

It’s hoped most of the funds, about $100,000, will be raised in grants by The Friends of the Ella Redkey Pool with the remaining $50,000 from donors and supporters. Days after launching the drive, more than $5,000 has been promised “from pool supporters who know what the pool has to offer.”

The fundraising runs through June 30, 2023. George says a series of special activities are planned, including a swim-a-thon, raffles, water aerobics-a-thon and other to-be announced events.

Among the Redkey’s ongoing goals is creating greater awareness of the pool’s unique year-around offerings and attracting more users. The plaza, for example, will provide space for ping-pong, lawn games and other activities, while the locker room upgrades include anti-slip floors and privacy areas.

George notes the Redkey already offers a wide variety of water-related activities, including family theme nights, masters swimming, Latin dance fusion, lifeguard certifications courses, junior lifeguard camps, aqua power, water walking, Zumba glow, along with open and family swims, lap swimming and swim team practices.

She also emphasizes that, “It’s not just the physical exercise. it’s the camaraderie and the friendships that are made. It’s a great place to meet new people.”

Creating new swimmers is something that Ella Redkey set as a goal when the pool opened in 1934. It remains a key focus. “We want everyone to feel water safe and comfortable,” says George, noting, “Redkey wanted everyone to know how to swim, especially in a region with a wealth of lakes, rivers and streams.” She says Redkey’s legacy is honored by the “Everyone Swims” program, which provides free swimming lessons to all Klamath County third-graders.

The pool’s hours are 5:30 a.m. to noon and 4 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday, with open swims from 1 to 3:30 p.m.; and from 5:30 a.m. to noon Friday. The pool is closed Sunday. Updated information is available at www.ellaredkeypool.com or by calling 541-273-1477.

Donations to the capital campaign can be made by credit card, cash or checks mailed or delivered payable to Ella Redkey Pool, 1805 Main St., Klamath Falls, OR 97601. For informatio, call the previously listed number or email bgeorge@klamathfalls.city.

In cool weather, the geothermally heated pool is like a large hot tub. George and supporters hope people will literally and figuratively dive in head-first and support the fundraising program.

“Hopefully,” says George, “we’re creating such a wonderful experience that people will keep returning to the pool.” Even in winter.

Reach freelance writer Lee Juillerat at 337lee337@charter.net or 541-880-4139.