FOREST CITY, Pa. — For nearly 20 years, cooling off and splashing around at the lake at Kennedy Park was nonexistent, but now those days are over. Swimming is now permitted at the park in Forest City, and we found people already taking advantage of the cool water on a hot day.
Forest City Parks and Recreation has been working on allowing swimming again for some time. For many years, geese were the reason the water wasn't safe for swimmers because of the bacteria the geese left behind. Now, the water will be tested every week and is safe for swimming.
"Sand is coming. We're going to put the buoys up that say 'swim this distance out, that distance out,'" said Forest city Mayor Christopher Glinton. "It'll be great."
The swimming area at Kennedy Park is still a work in progress, but people who live nearby say they're just thankful that they have somewhere close to home to cool off.
"It's great, they love it, something for them to do during the summer, get out of the house, cool off," Donna Johnson said.
"I think it's really cool that the kids finally have somewhere that they can go and swim and hang out without driving about like 40 to 50 minutes out to somewhere," Autumn Campbell said.
Forest City officials say having somewhere for kids to swim safely and close to home was the final push to get the lake open again for swimmers.
In May of last year, 14-year-old Aaron Winans from Forest City drowned when he went swimming in the river along the D & H Trail near Simpson.
The Winans family wanted to help get the swimming area at Kennedy Park back, so they raised money for water testing to bring back the swimming area in the lake.
Children under the age of 16 must have adult supervision because there are no lifeguards on duty.