Pool at Coady Park likely to be closed for summer if not ready by July 21

PAXTON -- The Paxton Park District Board of Commissioners approved an ultimatum for its swimming pool at Coady Park at its monthly meeting on Tuesday.
 
According to Paxton Park District Recreation Director Neal McKenry, there is no official opening date of the pool, but if it is not ready to open by Friday, July 21, the board decided it would most likely not open at all for the summer season.
 
"It will be open to the public as soon as there is water in it, the chemicals are balanced, and the new and returning lifeguards go through an onsite training," McKenry said.
 
If the pool opens, swim hours will be from 1-5 p.m. and 8-10 p.m. 
 
As has been the case over "the past few years," McKenry said, the pool will likely close with Paxton-Buckley-Loda schools start classes on Aug. 17.
 
"It was just never viable to open after school hours for 15 or 20 people on a nightly basis," McKenry said.
 
That drop in attendance was addressed at the meeting by Paxton Park Board President Steve Sample.
 
"What I don't want to do is spend a lot of money on chemicals and staffing and have five people show up," Sample said. "I do think we're in the time in the summer when our numbers start to dip."
 
The board discussed the possibility of closing the pool at its meeting in March -- the board instead voted 4-3 to install a new pool liner, repair troubled concrete spots and install a new ground water pump -- after the park district lost an average of $25,037 to the pool annually over the last four years, including a loss of $22,940 in 2016.
 
"We would lose more money opening the pool than not opening.  I've heard people saying that the Park District must have lost a lot of money with the closure of the pool, but that couldn't be farther from the truth," McKenry said. 
 
"It's quite the opposite. The amount of money lost on the pool being open for a month depends on how many people want to come out and support their community pool. The pool shouldn't be about dollars and cents though, it should be about fun. Making money at the pool is a pipedream, it will never happen.  Not losing as much money as we have recently is where our focus should be on."
 
At that same meeting, the park board also voted 5-2 to accept a bid for the construction of its new pool liner from Renosys Corporation in Indianapolis at a price of $47,735.
 
At the time, McKenry was hoping that, weather and project progress pending, the pool would be ready on Memorial Day.
 
On Friday, July 6, Renosys's workers began working on the pool. At Tuesday's meeting, McKenry said that, best-case scenario, the pool would be ready on Wednesday, July 19.
 
The previous May, McKenry told board members that Renosys was not scheduling any work before June 1. After debating whether to sell pool passes immediately or to wait a few weeks, board members agreed to begin selling passes as soon as possible and keep prices the same.
 
McKenry told board members that swim team signups would take place next week, though its practices and meets would also be delayed until the pool’s opening.
 
In a Facebook post on June 12, McKenry stated that Renosys was still in Tennessee working on a pool there, and it would be up to three weeks before the pool would be able to be filled and opened to the public.
 
McKenry said that Renosys Corp. indicated that a “very wet spring around the Midwest” had delayed “dozens of projects up to a month.”
 
"This is not a conversation we necessarily expected to, or wanted to, have," Sample said at Tuesday's meeting.
 
The delays have forced the park district to cancel all of its pool-related programs, including the swim team and swim lessons.
 
"Since we were forced to cancel all of our pool related programs, I believe all payments have been refunded, with the exception of several local
businesses who signed up to sponsor a night of free swimming for the community," McKenry said.  
 
"These businesses are First National Bank, Coldwell Banker, Hudson's, and Gibson Area Hospital. We hope to get these dates rescheduled once the pool opens and obviously, if it does not open this season, those businesses will be refunded."  
 
While attendance has been low in August for the past several years, McKenry said he hopes to have a sizable attendance this summer if the pool opens.
 
"The past several years, once August hits, attendance drops drastically," McKenry said. "This can be attributed to a variety of things such as kids involved in sports or camps, people are getting in their vacations before school starts, etc. However, if everyone who has expressed concern about not having a pool actually come out and support the pool, we won't have an attendance problem."
 
No pool passes have been sold by the park district. When, or if, the pool opens this season, passes will be sold at the pool office for $20 per person.
 
Although the swim team and swim lesson programs have been canceled, the team may still have the opportunity to have practices during the evenings if the pool opens. Private lessons may also be available as well, and the park district also plans to have its late morning toddler swim times three days per week as well.
 
Other business ...
-- The Paxton Park District approved a formalized ban on driving motorized vehicles on Coady Park property. This includes four-wheelers and dirt bikes.  
"We've received several complaints lately about people driving these recreational vehicles in the park," McKenry said.
-- A family dance will be held on July 29 at the Pells Park pavilion.
"It'll be for the whole family," McKenry said. "Our Daddy-Daughter dance was received very well, so we are going to offer another dance. It'll have a barn dance theme. More information will be published shortly."  
-- Upcoming programs that will soon be available for registration, McKenry said, will include soccer, flag football, yoga, youth dance and gymnastics. 
Categories (2):News, Parks and Recreation

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