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A scheduled October 16 meeting between T-or-C swimming pool manager Kyle Blacklock, city manager Morris Madrid, engineers and other concerned personnel promises to clarify the city’s options in addressing replacement of the J.A. Hodges Municipal Swimming Pool’s winter enclosure. As Blacklock announced during the October 7 parks and recreation advisory board meeting, a recent inspection found the pool’s inflatable winter enclosure to be unsafe. Because of this finding, he and the city manager agreed the structure could not be assembled this year, and that the decision would force the facility to close when weather conditions warrant.

Earlier Wednesday morning, Blacklock confirmed a variety of replacement options are presently on the table. He said initial discussion and queries have sought information about constructing a new winter enclosure, as well as a potential year-round structure. Blacklock noted consideration is also being given to the possible development of a broader recreational complex, which would encompass the present pool and surrounding property. While questions about the enclosure’s replacement remain in the air, the swimming pool manager acknowledged costs for such an initiative are difficult to estimate. In general, he suggested costs for a simple enclosure replacement would likely begin at or near the $600,000 mark, with the price tag for more elaborate designs rising to as much as the city might want to spend.

Although his admitted dream goal would be to see a complete renovation of the facility and construction of other fitness/recreational enhancements, Blacklock expressed confidence that a decision about the project would be forthcoming in the near term. He said present budgets would likely be sufficient to address development of a stand-alone replacement enclosure, depending upon the style and amenities included. A more elaborate renovation project would obviously entail more significant costs and would likely require funding support.

•The now defunct inflatable cover was formally welcomed with a special ceremony on February 21, 2014. Although designs for the structure were completed in 2009, subsequent issues involving the state’s Construction and Industries Division led to changes in project plans and the eventual contracting of an in-state construction firm to build the enclosure. Beginning with its initial assembly in 2014, the structure was disassembled in late spring and reassembled each fall.

•With installation of the winter enclosure not being an option this year, Blacklock confirmed the facility would be closing. Currently, the municipal swimming pool is scheduled to close on Saturday, November 23. Following the Thanksgiving holiday, Blacklock said his staff would be meeting in early December to assess weather conditions and forecasts, and at that time would determine if the pool might be opened for patrons, on into the month.

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