The mayor of the City of Washington, Missouri wants to set the record straight. She said the Franklin County town does not plan on shutting down the public pool but something does have to change.
“The comment was made rather off the cuff, ‘Well, maybe we should just close it,’ and it certainly created quite the firestorm of people concerned about losing our pool,” said Mayor Sandy Lucy.
The topic came up in a recent Parks board meeting. City leaders were looking at what projects to include if residents renew the half-cent capital improvement sales tax in April.
“When I heard the discussion had taken place, I wondered to myself, ‘Wow I wonder what the public is going to say about that.’ Sure enough, they weren’t real happy about it,” said Mayor Lucy.
She said she is glad its pushed people to get more involved in the discussion and pay attention to city issues.
“There are no intentions of closing our pool at this time but we do recognize it does probably need some improvements,” said Mayor Lucy.
Parks director Darren Dunkle said the pool costs between $100,000 and $120,000 to run every summer but only brings in about $25,000 in revenue. He said it’s typical that a city has to subsidize community facilities like a pool but the question is how much.
On top of that, the aging pool is in need of costly repairs. It was built back in the 1930s and rehabbed in the 1980s. Now, Dunkle said it needs improvements to the filtration system, repairs to the piping, and needs to be made handicap accessible to meet ADA standards.
They are asking residents to weigh in on whether the city should invest in these repairs, a new pool, a splash pad, or put the money elsewhere. The city posted a survey on its Facebook page.
Regardless, city leaders said the pool is not going anywhere, at least not anytime soon.
“The city has never said we are going to shut the pool down anytime. In fact, we are out to bid right now on renewing the contract or going out for a new contract for operation of the pool for the next three years,” said Dunkle.
The city is also planning to host a public forum to hear from residents on November 27 from 5-7 p.m.
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