Archive for Thursday, March 3, 2005

Pool deemed safe, could be better

March 3, 2005

Days full of sunshine and no school are approaching, and within a matter of months it will be time to get out the flippers and flotation devices.

Eudora Parks and Recreation Director Bobby Arnold said that without any complications the city pool should open May 28. The pool is located in the 1600 block of Elm Street.

The pool's opening was delayed in 2004 while crews finished projects to get the pool ready.

"We opened a little over a week late last year because of the fact the pool itself was sandblasted down to the concrete and then repainted, and one of the pumps had a bad impeller," Arnold said. "We should always be prepared for something similar to happen."

City Administrator Mike Yanez said problems are just part of the package with a 30-year-old pool.

"We're just going to run it until it breaks," he said.

Some of the problems associated with the public pool, Yanez said, are filters, pumps and electrical systems that shut down from time to time. He said during the swimming months the city is constantly replacing parts and since some of the parts are no longer manufactured, some pieces have to be custom made.

Arnold also noted that the pool is not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Otherwise, Yanez said the city pool is safe, but "not up to standards with modern pools."

"Our biggest concern is that the filter tanks are rusting," he said. "It's just a matter of time before we have acute failure of those filter tanks. We'd be talking hundreds of thousands of dollars if we wanted to replace those filter tanks."

If and when failure occurs, Yanez said city leaders and the community would have to decide whether they wanted to spend the money to fix the pool, build a new pool, or go without a pool.

"It's a matter of dollars and cents," he said.

In 2003 the city put two pool bonds to a vote, one in April and another in August. Both proposals failed.

"It just depends on what Eudora wants," Yanez said. "We proposed a state-of-the-art swimming pool that could have served the community for 30 years."

In planning for growth, the proposed pool would have accommodated a population of 12,000.

Yanez acknowledged that a new pool in Eudora might not be a priority to those who are content driving to aquatic facilities in the city of Lawrence, or the new pool to be constructed in nearby De Soto.

Yanez said his opinion was that the city of Eudora would be better off building a new pool than trying to maintain the existing pool for years to come, for financial and safety reasons.

"It's also there as a public safety feature, so kids have a place to go where it's supervised by trained, certified lifeguards," he said. "If Eudora would have had a new water park, I think the dollars would have been there to at least help the pool operations break even."

He said revenue from the existing pool had not come close to paying for pool maintenance in the last few years. He said last year's pool use was lower than others because of cooler temperatures.

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