Pool lift is operational

Staff writer

A new sign on the pool house door at Peabody Municipal Pool says it all, “ADA pool and spa lift available.”

The Peabody swimming pool is now compliant with a 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act regulation which contains specific requirements for accessibility issues for swimming pools and spas used by the public. The regulation requires a lift to assist handicapped people in and out of the water. It applies to public swimming pools and businesses such as hotels and motels, recreation centers, and health clubs.

Peabody City Council approved purchase of the portable lift in 2012, but it was not available from the manufacturer until after the 2012 swimming season. The cost was $3,500.

It was installed recently by public works employees, and pool manager, Beth Peter, has been working with her staff to familiarize them with the new equipment.

Although the lift is considered portable because it can be installed anywhere, it is bolted into the concrete apron of the pool and will remain there for the season. It can then be removed and stored inside for the winter months.

“Getting it operational is not complicated,” Peter said. “We just connect the power source and push a button. The chair slowly moves over the water and then with the push of another button, lowers the person into the pool.”

Peter said the chair has a lifting capacity of 350 pounds.

“Since I have been manager, we have never had anyone request that type of assistance in or out of our pool, but I can see where it will be an asset if we do,” she said. “We’ve had to explain to some of the kids that it is not for them; they can’t play on it. They understand it is off limits.”

City council also will begin looking at the possibility of creating an ADA accessible restroom, following a request for such a facility at a recent Peabody swimming meet. There are two restrooms with outside access at the pool house, and council members agreed to look at the cost of converting them to a single handicap-accessible facility.

“For now, we are glad to have the lift sign on the pool house door,” Peter said. “It means we are better prepared for all swimmers.”

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