Tuesday, 19 July 2016 20:00

Chaloner pool to remained closed as city gathers cost data

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Ferebee, center, and Simeon, right, discuss the pool with Mike Manning of the parks department last month. Ferebee, center, and Simeon, right, discuss the pool with Mike Manning of the parks department last month.

The Chaloner Recreation Center pool will remained closed throughout the summer as the parks and recreation department prepares a plan for what maintenance and repairs will be needed to have the facility ready for next year.

“After reviewing the situation for needed repairs at Chaloner pool and how long it would take to accomplish them by a contractor, we have decided not to attempt to (do) any repairs this year,” City Manager Joseph Scherer told council this evening.
The plan for maintenance, he told council, as many people from the community who use the facility sat in the audience, would especially target the pool and bath house, he said. “At least two estimates of recommended repairs will be prepared for your review and consideration before anything is acted on,” he said. “All approved repairs would be accomplished beginning next spring.”
Councilman Carl Ferebee, who represents the area where the park and pool is located, said, “I’m not happy the pool is not operating. Just doing a patch is not the answer.”
Ferebee assured the residents gathered at the meeting, “We’re looking at doing estimates and how best to handle the situation.”
While he said he knows the community is disappointed, he said, “We want to make sure when it opens it is opened safely and open long-term.”
While it may take some time to get the estimates, Ferebee said he wanted to go ahead and work on it. “The worst thing that can happen is we sit here next year and not get it done.”
Councilman Wayne Smith said while the pool needs to be refurbished and made safe, he would be interested in the selling the facility, including the recreation center and pool, to the Chaloner Alumni Association for a dollar, and letting the organization own the complex.
Margaret Clark, a member of the Chaloner community who began using the pool when it opened in 1957, said after the meeting Smith’s proposal is out of the question. “Why would we? We don’t have any money to fix it. We pay the same taxes like everybody. We want the same help and same thing and the same thing they give to the rest of city.”
Clark said the pool is widely used. “We want to get the young people back in the pool. You can’t cross (Highway) 158 to get over to the other pools,” at T.J. Davis.
Parks and Recreation Director John Simeon told council in 2014, 885 people used the pool while last year 615 used it.
Smith said afterward said just to patch the pool would probably cost somewhere between to $25,000 to $50,000. “To refurbish it would probably cost at least $100,000.”
Selling the center and the pool to the alumni association, Smith said, “I think it would be a good thing to help them raise money.”
Smith said the city has three pools. “We can’t continue to afford to keep luxuries everyone wants to have.”
He said, however, “I’m going to work to see what I can do to help the people.”
Scherer said he didn’t immediately have official cost estimates. “We’re going to look to see what we can do for long-term viability.”
Ferebee said afterward he is also opposed to selling the facility. “It’s better if the city controls the operation of it.”
Ferebee said he is hopeful major improvements eyed for three parks in his district may solve the pool problem.
“We still need to have a pool,” he said. “There’s people in the community who use that more than anything else.”
Problems with the pool were first discovered when the city was preparing for a county health department inspection prior to its scheduled opening on June 11.



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