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Page last updated on June 13, 2024 at 1:40 pm

For more information, please contact

Shawn Miya, Assistant Director Sustainability, Economic & Sustainable Development or 812-349-3837


Julie Ramey, Community Relations Manager, Parks and Recreation or 812-349-3719

"Stay Cool Bloomington" Initiative Provides Free Pool Admission During Extreme Heat

Bloomington, Ind.Economic & Sustainable Development (ESD) and Parks & Recreation are collaborating this summer to offer "Stay Cool Bloomington Days at City Pools"—free access to the city's two outdoor pools when the National Weather Service (NWS) HeatRisk is at Category 2 or higher. 


Bryan Park Pool, 1020 S. Woodlawn Ave. and Mills Pool, 1100 W 14th St., are open daily during the summer from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. 


The NWS HeatRisk indicator is a forecasting system that takes into account how unusual the heat is for the time of the year, the duration of the heat including both daytime and nighttime temperatures, and whether the temperatures pose an elevated risk of heat-related impacts. When the NWS HeatRisk is at Category 2 or higher, that day is designated a "Stay Cool Bloomington Day at City Pools".


Parks and Recreation's Aquatics Hotline (812-349-3741), Facebook page (City of Bloomington, IN - Parks and Recreation) and the pools website will all be updated with the Stay Cool Bloomington Day at City Pools announcement by 11 a.m. on designated days. There is no charge for admission to the pools on designated Stay Cool Bloomington Days at City Pools as long as funding for the program is available.


"Stay Cool Bloomington" is a multi-strategy approach developed by the City's ESD Department to reduce the public health risks of extreme heat caused by climate change. A "Stay Cool Bloomington" implementation team has been created to focus on increasing awareness of the public health impacts of extreme heat and the resources that are available across the city to help keep residents cool. The team consists of staff members from Monroe County Emergency Management, Monroe County Health Department, area non-profit organizations, Indiana University Health, and others.


Stay Cool Bloomington aims to provide equitable access to public swimming facilities. People whose incomes are below the federal poverty threshold, or whose self-reported income is in lower income brackets, are unable to afford the cost of pool admission especially during prolonged heat waves when frequent visits are necessary for relief.


According to climate data, the south-central Indiana region has experienced a trending rise in the number of days with a heat index (a calculation that combines air temperature and relative humidity) greater than 90°F. These extreme heat conditions pose a serious health risk to older adults, infants and young children, people with chronic illnesses (e.g. breathing problems, mental illness, heart problems), and people who are unable to keep their living spaces cool. 


Shawn Miya, Assistant Director Sustainability with ESD, said, "By offering free swimming, we can mitigate the effects of an increasing number of high heat days as a result of climate change,  help reduce heat-related illnesses, provide a recreational activity for underrepresented populations, and foster a sense of community."


Aquatics Manager Chris Hamric, Parks & Recreation, said, "Swimming is a low-impact, full-body workout that is beneficial for cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and mental well-being. Access to swimming pools can provide essential exercise opportunities, and opportunities to learn the vital skill of swimming."