SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. - The city's pool at Lloyd Park is draining South Pittsburg's resources.
Last week, the South Pittsburg City Commission agreed to keep the pool closed for the summer, because officials estimated it would cost up to $20,000 to open it.
Parks & Recreation Director Lisa Bradford said the pool was built in 1964 and must be made compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.
It also needs a new pump and filter system, as well as a complete resurfacing, before it can be reopened, she said.
"I don't see how we can do that," Mayor Jane Dawkins said. "It's an expensive venture. I hate to say that, but I just don't see how we'd be able to do that this year."
Bradford said ADA rules would involve installing a wheelchair lift or building a ramp inside the pool.
The pool's age makes finding replacement parts for the pump and filter system impossible, she said, and the material used originally to resurface the bottom isn't sold anymore.
"If we plan on keeping the pool, instead of continuing to put a Band-Aid on it, we need to actually fix it so kids can use it year after year," Bradford said.
About half of the pool's tiles need to be replaced, she said, and it is not on level ground.
"You fill it up, and it runs out on one side, and it's barely hitting where it's supposed to on the other side," Bradford said. "We tried to patch it with concrete, but nothing is working."
Officials said the pool has lost $7,000 to $10,000 each year for a number of years.
"A couple of years ago, we lost $18,000 when we tried to do the patching and repainting and those kind of things, but it just didn't last as long as we had wanted it to," Bradford said.
Commissioner Jimmy Wigfall said workers drained the pool recently so it wouldn't become "a mosquito haven."
"The people who worked on that did a great job," he said. "It was really a mess."
Dawkins said the city may examine replacing the pool permanently by creating a "splash pad," which would be a more cost-effective recreational item.
"That's what a lot of [municipalities] are going to," she said. "I do know some of the area pools are not going to be opening up this year because they are just so expensive."
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.