Labor Day marks end of inaugural swimming season at lake

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FARMINGTON — Some residents celebrated Labor Day this year by swimming at Farmington Lake, which has served as a source of summer fun after the City Council voted in March to close Brookside Pool and offer swimming at the lake.

City Manager Rob Mayes said today the popularity of Farmington Lake "exceeded all our expectations," with about 180 people visiting the beach daily since it opened May 27.

In July, 3,922 residents attended the beach during peak hours, according to city records. The city saw a substantial increase in attendance in mid-July, when crews reinstalled several floating play structures, including a trampoline, records state.

Mayes said the beach's success would not come at the expense of Brookside Pool, a Farmington fixture that was closed this year due to the need for extensive repairs. The City Council has contemplated a complete renovation of the pool, which could cost more than $1 million.

"The two are separate projects," Mayes said. "We are committed to both of them."

Children crawled across the sands this afternoon at the Farmington Lake beach and bobbed about in the lake's cool waters.

Vanessa Pine sat in the shade about 20 yards from the water as her 8-year-old daughter buried her legs in the sand.

She said she has visited the lake several times this year, and said it was a nice replacement for the pool.

"I would prefer this over that," Pine said about the beach. "This is natural. It's beautiful."

Sonja Chavez said she has visited the beach every day this year with her two children.

She said swimming is therapeutic for her 6-year-old autistic son.

"I keep telling him it's the last day," she said. "But I'm sure tomorrow he'll be yelling, 'Lake! Lake!'"

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644. 

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