There is about a month left in the school year and with summer on the horizon, uncertainty remains over whether Glenwood Pool in Macomb will be open this year.
Glenwood Pool is the only public pool in Macomb. It is owned by the city and managed by the park district. This spring the engineering firm Benton and Associates completed a structural inspection of the pool after the park district expressed safety concerns.
Benton’s report notes there are many other items related to pool operations that need to be addressed, but since there are non-structural concerns they were not specifically identified by the report.
Mayor Mike Inman said the firm made two key recommendations:
- Repair/replace the most deteriorated concrete joists under the concrete pool deck
- Seal cracks on the pool deck to stop water penetration and reduce additional damage caused from the freeze/thaw conditions.
But it’s unclear whether those recommendations must be followed for the long term life of the pool or are needed for it to open just for this summer.
Inman said he was encouraged that many of the findings don’t have anything to do with the functionality of the pool itself. “They talked about some items they thought needed to be addressed. They didn’t say it absolutely needed to be addressed by the time the building opened,” Inman said.
In a follow up letter, Benton and Associates indicated there might be some “intermediate measures the City and Park District could implement to allow the pool to be opened safely from a structural standpoint for a short-term period.”
Initial estimates indicated that the needed repairs would be costly, effectively nullifying the City’s contract with the Park District. According to the partnership agreement, repair costs are shared up to $75,000. Anything more and the pool could instead close for good.
But Inman said short term repairs to extend the life of the pool for another season could cost "considerably less."
Park District Board Chairman John Hemingway said the issue comes down to money.
Hemingway said Glenwood Pool has costs the park district a great deal of money over the years and pool attendance has been on the decline. He was ready to throw in the towel on the pool after seeing the engineering report, but agreed to table the idea until cost estimates can be provided.
“We need to know essential not just what considerably less means but precise costs of what this is going to be. We need to know something about the specifications of what is going to be done and the time line,” Hemingway said.
Hemingway said if Glenwood Pool is able to open this summer, the park district needs to begin hiring lifeguards and for other pool related positions.
Last summer, the pool opened late due to repairs to bring it up to state code. Less than a month later the new equipment failed and the pool closed for the season.
Representatives from the park district and the city will discuss the status of Glenwood Pool and the future of public swimming in Macomb during a public forum called Issues and Ale on Wednesday, April 26 hosted by Tri States Public Radio. It begins at 5:00 p.m. at Taylor's Hall for Events in downtown Macomb.