Last updated: June 19. 2014 9:56AM - 518 Views
By - jbaxley@civitasmedia.com

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ST. PAULS — Robeson County residents are flocking to swimming pools in an effort to accomplish what the San Antonio Spurs pulled off Sunday: Beat the Heat.

After being open to the public only on weekends since Memorial Day, the Dr. Arthur Bradford Pool in St. Pauls has kicked off its weekday hours to coincide with summer break for students.

Levandor Taylor took a dip Tuesday to find relief from the heat.

“With this heat, it’s about the best thing you can do,” he said.

Longtime patrons of the pool may notice a couple of changes.

The 29-year-old facility, which boasts a maximum depth of 8 1/2 feet, recently underwent a face-lift, adding a full-service concession stand and swim shop. The pool was also repainted using a portion of a grant awarded to St. Pauls. Town officials hope to make additional improvements with money from a N.C. STEP grant.

“We got a makeover and it’s probably the best it’s looked since it opened up,” said Billy Roach, programs specialist for the Robeson County Parks and Recreation Department, which manages the pool.

Temperatures reached 97 degrees Tuesday and Wednesday across Robeson County and are expected to inch up to 98 degrees today. The high for Friday is expected to be 95 degrees, marking the beginning of a gradual drop that will see temperatures slide to 92 degrees on Saturday and 88 degrees on Sunday.

“It is going to be hot across the region,” said Reid Hawkins, a science officer with the National Weather Service in Wilmington. “The heat index is going to have it feeling closer to 100 to 102 degrees. If goes up any more, we may have to issue a heat advisory.”

The forecast calls for scattered storms through the weekend.

According to Roach, the St. Pauls pool is a warm-weather destination for families looking for a safe environment to swim.

“It gives kids an opportunity to get out of the house and it gives parents a break, too,” he said. “We have our regulars from Lumberton, Parkton and other places that are here every weekend.”

The pool is open from 1 to 6 p.m. every day; admission is $2. Swimming lessons are offered by certified lifeguards. For information, call 910-671-3090.

The Dr. Arthur Bradford Pool is the only public pool in Robeson County, but it’s not the only option for residents looking to make a splash.

The Woodside Pool in Lumberton is one of a handful of private pools offering relief from the summer heat. Membership to the pool is $350 a year and guests of members can swim for $7.

“We’re busiest after school lets out,” said Regina Dickerson, the pool’s manager. “The majority of our swimmers are children who don’t want to sit in the house all day.”

Dickerson said that Woodside, which offers one-on-one swimming lessons led by a team of certified lifeguards, is a resource for novice swimmers.

The $50 lessons are available to non-members and, according to Dickerson, aren’t over until the student feels at ease in the water.

“I don’t want anybody drowning,” she said.

The pool, which boasts a maximum depth of 11 1/2 feet, is open from noon until 6 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays; from 1 until 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and from noon until 7 p.m. on Saturdays.

For information, call 910-738-2737.

Summertime in Robeson County typically sends youths plunging into the Lumber River for escape from the sun. Safety experts caution against swimming in the river becauses of is strong currents. They say if people do jump into the river, wear a life jacket and don’t go alone.

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