North Vernon city officials are trying to figure out what to do with the community’s aging swimming pool.
The diminishing summer break for area school children, coupled with the lack of lifeguards once classes resume, has effectively reduced the pool to only being open two months out of the year, say parks officials.
Chad Speer, North Vernon’s parks director, told the City Council last night that the concrete on the bottom of the pool bottom has been degrading for years. Speer says that a liner was put in nearly 15-years ago and that its life-cycle is nearing an end. He explained that replacing the liner will cost over $100,000.
Members of the council debated various options from closing the pool altogether, to making the repairs or to repurpose the pool into a splash pad.
Councilman Brian Hatfield noted that since he has been on the council, the pool has always run at a deficit. Despite that, he says that the pool is needed, citing it as a quality-of-life issue. Hatfield says that the city council is obligated to look out for the best interest of all residents, adding that recreation and parks are part of that interest.
Councilman Trent Wisner agreed. He says that the pool has served many residents and has helped to give area youths a place to go during the summer months. However, Wisner said that he’s concerned about the costs of simply replacing the pool’s liner. He wonders if it wouldn’t be more cost-effective to remove the liner and repair the damaged concrete underneath.
Councilman Jack Kelley says that the pool is antiquated and argued, whatever the decision, the city will have to spend money to fix it, or close it permanently. He suggested that the city may want to re-purpose the pool and turn it into a splash-pad. Kelley said that such an idea might be an improvement.
No decision was made and council members said they don’t have a time frame on when they might make a final decision.
The council is in the process of considering next year’s budget. The city is budgeting nearly $78,000 dollars to operate the pool next year.
The council is scheduled to review the budget again at 5:30 p.m. Thursday with a final reading on Oct. 11th.