Workers finally arrive at Paxton pool; opening date eyed

PAXTON — Workers from Indianapolis-based Renosys Corp. are finally at Coady Park replacing the old liner in the Paxton Park District’s swimming pool, giving hope that the pool may be able to open to the public as soon as next Wednesday.

The workers showed up Friday to start the work and, depending on the weather this week, are expected to be finished by this weekend, said the district’s recreation director, Neal McKenry.

The work on Paxton’s pool had been delayed for several weeks due to the “very wet spring around the Midwest,” which had stalled “dozens of projects” the company had committed to by “up to a month,” McKenry said.

“Progress is going well, with no setbacks so far,” McKenry said Tuesday morning. “The crew has ripped out all of the old liner. At this moment, they have put the new liner up around the sides on nearly the entire perimeter of the pool. Besides finishing laying the liner, they’ll be replacing and resealing various flanges and chemical feed outlets around the pool, as well.”

The park district’s board of commissioners was scheduled to meet Tuesday evening to approve setting an opening date for the pool, with the date to be selected based on the progress of the work being done. If there are no issues and the weather cooperates, McKenry said he expected the pool to be able to open as early as next Wednesday.

“Everything is weather dependent, but (the workers) were confident that I should be able to start filling (the pool with water) on Saturday,” McKenry said. “If we followed that timeline, we’d (have the pool) full on Sunday. It will then take another day or two to allow the water to be chemically balanced and to get the water to warm up a bit. Before we open to the public, our lifeguards will need a refresher training course, as well.

“If it works out perfectly, I’d guess that the earliest we would open would be next Wednesday.”

Although there is only a little over a month left in the swimming season, McKenry said opening the pool would be worth it.

“If we can get a month or so of the pool season in at least, I’d recommend opening.  Everyone’s been anxiously awaiting for us to open,” McKenry said. “We’ve already had to cancel the swim team season and all of our other pool-related programs (due to the delays in opening the pool), so it’d be nice to at least offer the community something. Our lifeguards have been patient and are probably sick of sitting around all summer. Plus, we need to make sure the leak problem that has forced this closure is taken care of.

“All that being said, if any more delays are experienced and we’re only able to get a couple weeks in, opening then, in my opinion, would be pretty pointless.”

The pool normally opens on Memorial Day weekend. However, Renosys Corp. delayed the project twice due to weather issues that had pushed back its other projects — first telling McKenry that it wouldn’t be scheduling any work before June 1, then pushing back the anticipated opening of the pool an additional three weeks in June.

Although the workers have finally started the project, McKenry is still not relieved.

“I’m not going to be relieved until there is water in the pool and there are people here,” McKenry said.

McKenry said getting the pool open this summer has “been an experience, to say the least.”

“Running the pool when open is never easy, but I never thought it’d be even harder running a pool that isn’t even open,” McKenry said. “Dealing with the same question dozens of times a day, whether I’m in the office or out to eat with my family, takes a toll.

“But I understand everyone’s concern about the pool. Hopefully, many of those people (who are asking about it) are also just as concerned about supporting the pool when it’s open. After we’re open — and I say this in the most polite way possible — I hope to never hear ‘When is the pool going to open?’ ever again.”

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