Colonial Park Pool To Close In September
After moving discussion of the Colonial Park pool closure to the 6:30 p.m. regular session Monday night to allow for residents to speak on the subject, West U. City Council voted unanimously to close the pool after Labor Day this year. The vote came after each councilman and the mayor explained the reasons behind their vote on the subject, which has caused controversy among the winter users of the pool.
“We’ve received a lot of e-mails on this,” said Councilman George Boehme, who made the motion to accept city staff’s recommendation for an early closure. “This is my first time being elected, and you don’t like anyone being mad at you, but the truth is you can’t please everybody.”
Boehme cited the $68,000 per month savings during the dual closures of the Recreation Center pool and Colonial Park pool as well as the number of people who use the pool during the winter compared to the number who use the pool during the summer.
“I’m going to tell you that as an elected representative of the city we are supposed to balance all of the interests,” said Boehme. “In my view it would be very, very irresponsible to vote to keep that pool open with that kind of cost savings and also having the ability to do both these projects in unison and have them both open in the summer. Now, I’m sorry, and we have to do whatever we can for these swimmers, but the residents that would use that pool in the winter is very charitably 25 people.”
“We are getting it done at the best possible price,” said Councilman Bob Fry. “There’s no way I am going to delay. The other thing is you have both pools in eight months, nine months rather than being without a pool for a year. This is one of those decisions that is really a no-brainer.”
The original plan called for in the $13.8 bond election for recreational facility redevelopment had the Rec. Center pool open by the fall of 2009, at which point Colonial Park pool would close, leaving West U. with at least one pool open at all times. The new plan estimates the Rec. Center pool to open in March, with a Memorial Day opening for the new Colonial Park pool.
“As with so many things in life, things change,” said Mayor Bob Kelly. “And one of the things that changed was the opening date of the Rec. Center. I know it is going to be painful and I think staff has done a pretty good job of finding alternatives (for winter pool users).”
Alternatives are listed here, although the Rice Village Bally Total Fitness is scheduled to close June 26.