published Friday, May 17th, 2013

South Pittsburg backtracks on closing city pool

The city pool at Lloyd Park will open this summer after all.
Photo by Ryan Lewis
The city pool at Lloyd Park will open this summer after all. Photo by Ryan Lewis
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SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. — The city pool at Loyd Park will open this summer after all.

Last month, the South Pittsburg City Commission decided to keep the pool closed, citing the enormous costs of repairs and required upgrades, but commissioners reversed that decision recently.

Mayor Jane Dawkins said city leaders "hated to close it" since they had proclaimed 2013 the "Year of the Child."

The pool was built in 1964 and must become compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Officials said the pool also needs a new pump, filter system and resurfacing before it can reopen.

Dawkins said in April she didn't see how the city could afford to open the pool, but things have changed.

Officials would not say what the repairs and upgrades will cost, but last month Dawkins estimated a $20,000 price tag to open the pool this year.

Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Bradford said in April that the pool has lost between $7,000 and $10,000 per year for a number of years. One year there was a net loss of $18,000, she said.

Officials now charge a $3 fee to enter the facility for the day.

City Administrator Sammy Burrows said a decision on how to get the pool ADA-compliant will have to be made this week.

"We've got a couple of options," he said. "That's basically the last decision we've got to make in order to get the thing open."

Officials either will build a ramp into the pool or purchase a "lift chair" that would lower disabled people into the pool, he said.

Burrows said he examined the city pool in nearby Bridgeport, Ala., recently, which has an ADA-compliant ramp.

"It's coming along," Commissioner Jimmy Wigfall said. "We're working on it. We got some free labor from the Marion County Jail. All we've got to do is pull it together and get it ready to open before school is out."

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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