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Memorial Day Pool Season begins today

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Mayor Vincent Gray is preparing to help DC residents and visitors to beat the coming summer heat by kicking off the District’s 2014 Summer Pools Season. Gray will officially open the 2014 pool season for the District's outdoor pools and spray parks operated by the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). He will be joined by Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry, DPR Acting Director Sharia Shanklin, Department of General Services (DGS) Director Brian Hanlon and other special guests.

DPR operates 18 outdoor pools, 19 spray parks and four children’s pools. All of these outdoor aquatic features will open starting Memorial Day Weekend. The District is upgrading many of the DPR properties in Ward 8. Fort Greble playground received Ward 8's first spray park in August of 2013 and Fort Stanton Recreation Center and Playground were upgraded in July 2013. The Barry Farm community will receive a brand-new recreation center in 2015 and a new indoor aquatic facility in the fall.

The District of Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation has asked Examiner.com to help make the public aware of the DPR swimwear requirements to provide better customer service to those enjoying DPR pools across the city this summer.

DPR is asking customers to come and enjoy the beautiful DPR pools with the correct swim attire so that the experience will be enjoyable for all. There are certain types of clothing that customers are attempting to wear to the pools which can damage expensive DPR equipment and could lead to expensive repairs.

DPR has provided illustrations of the both the correct and incorrect swimwear in order to help customers better understand which items are accepted and unaccepted. It also important to note that DPR employees are required to follow the swimwear regulations. Thus, if customers come to the pools improperly dressed they will be turned away. This is both an uncomfortable situation for the customer and the DPR employee. Here the DPR guidelines:

The current DPR requirements are as follows:

· All persons on the pool deck and/or swimming in the pool must have on proper swim attire.

· All infants/toddlers that require a diaper must wear swimmer diapers and proper swimwear.

· Clean cotton t-shirts and sarongs are allowed on the pool deck, however patrons must have on proper swim attire underneath.

· The following attire is not allowed at District pools:

· "Street clothes", Brazil/French-cut, thong style and/or revealing swim wear, cut-off jeans, jeans, skirts, shorts, sport bras, leotards, leggings, dri-fit wear, compression shorts and compression shirts are prohibited. Underwear and undergarments are not allowed to be worn under swimsuits.

DPR stresses that these regulations are not put in place to make life difficult for customers. To the contrary the guidelines can actually help to avoid pools from being shut down in the middle of a brutal heat wave when the pools are most needed. These are the exact reasons for the guidelines given by DPR:

1. Street clothes (especially cotton) can transport airborne and ultimately water borne contaminants into the pool.

2. Lycra and Nylon are the best non-absorbent material for swimming and are the best fabrics for proper swim attire.

a. Other absorbent materials (such as cotton) can break down in the water and cause fibers to clog filters.

b. Any “colored” material (unless specifically made for swimming) can bleed into the pool, effecting water chemistry and balance. This is also a reason for turbidity in pools.

3. Cotton and similar materials can absorb the chemicals in the water, causing the water to become less effective at maintaining the proper chemical balance or may cloud the water.

No customer likes to be turned away from a business establishment because of the way they are dressed. However, in the case of the DPR Swimwear guidelines, it is a matter of providing the best service and protecting the expensive equipment. DPR is ready to explain the reasons that a customer is turned away and asked customers to contact DPR: For more information on DPR's Aquatics Division, visit the DPR website or click on the pages below.

· Aquatic Classes and Activities

· Aquatic Facilities

· Aquatics Admission and Fees

· Aquatics Pool Rules & Safety

Customers should remember that DPR has the right to turn any customer away from a pool if they do not meet DPR swimwear guidelines. Please review the guidelines provided to Examiner.com by DPR and make certain your swimwear conforms to the guidelines before you go to the pool.

Please remember that the DC Department of Parks and Recreation reserves the right to deny use of DPR pool and/or spa facilities for non-approved swimwear.

DPR asks that you are unsure if your swimwear meets DPR's guidelines, please check with facility management or call DPR's Aquatics Division at (202) 671-1289 (during normal business hours).

Have a Happy Memorial Day and summer and enjoy your swim.

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