Stepping Stones’ legacy of service continues

Moscow’s Stepping Stones donates about $45,000 in grants each year to benefit those on the Palouse with disabling conditions. It chipped in $2,200 to help fund three aquatic wheelchairs that debuted this year at the Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center in Moscow.

Swimming, lounging and sunburns will once again be allowed this summer at Moscow’s Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center after the city facility remained mostly closed last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Moscow City Council on Monday night approved reopening the aquatics center June 11 for the regularly scheduled nine-week pool season with coronavirus safety protocols in place. The facility will close Sept. 12.

“I feel very confident in this option,” Moscow Recreation Supervisor Greg Morrison said.

Morrison said initial capacity will be limited to 40 percent (360 people) of the facility’s 900-person maximum occupancy. He said the aquatics center averages 310 patrons per day in June and he does not think patrons would exceed that number at any given time.

According to a memorandum in Monday’s Moscow City Council packet from Morrison to Jen Pfiffner, deputy city supervisor of culture, recreation and employee services, capacity could be increased incrementally as appropriate.

The memo said all staff, except lifeguards, will be required to wear face masks and gloves at all times and masks will not be required when patrons are seated or when physically distanced from others.

All pools, including the lap pool and activity pool, and slides will be open. Physical distancing “dots” will be installed for lines at the lap pool diving board and for lines at the slides.

Restrooms and concessions will also be open but showers will be closed, Morrison said. Swimming lessons will proceed as usual.

A “safety team” will be implemented to ensure touchpoints are sanitized, the memo said.

The memo outlined extensive cleaning and sanitizing of all touchpoints at the facility during and at the end of each day.

The plan is based on a review of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Idaho Rebounds Plan and Public Health – Idaho North Central District guidelines.

“This is an awesome plan,” Councilor Gina Taruscio said. “This is really well thought out.”

In other business, the City Council:

Recommended the reinstatement of the community events application review process and required that events with 50 or more people also include an approved Large Gathering Plan and Attestation from the local health district. The city’s Community Events division processes applications for events, like marches and block parties, that would occur in the public right-of-way. Last August, the City Council suspended events in the public right-of-way because of COVID-19.

Recommended approval of live entertainment at the Moscow Farmers Market, which is set to start May 1, to begin July 3 and to waive vendor registration fees.

Approved an agreement with the Idaho Department of Water Resources to allow a monitoring well to be installed at Mountain View Park in an effort to better understand the northeast edge of the Palouse Basin. The well, which is expected to be drilled by the end of the summer and will be funded by the IDWR, will help monitor and track water levels, recharge and provide other pertinent information.

Set Aug. 2 as the public hearing date for the city’s fiscal 2022 budget. That budget takes effect Oct. 1, 2021.

Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to

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