Green: Kiddie Pool faces major structural problem

COLUMBIA CITY — Renovation of the 25-year-old kiddie pool, along with a new liner for the Burnworth Pool, were discussed at Monday evening’s park board meeting. According to the pool’s documented history, the last major renovations to the kiddie pool were in 1982, when cracks were repaired and drainage improved.Green said he has received two different quotes on repairing the kiddie pool, with one quote at $3,500 to repair the liner only, and a second quote for $27,000. “On the second quote a big chunk of the corner liner was pulled so we could see the whole side all the way around,” Green said. “Twenty to 25 years ago there was concrete added around the whole top of the (kiddie) pool and that concrete has completely crumbled. This is a major structural problem.”Green said a breakdown of the $27,000 quote includes $7,000 in supplies and $20,000 in labor.“This particular contractor bid very high, the price can only be lower and that (quote) includes concrete,” Green said. “The liner for the big pool (Burnworth pool) definitely needs changed too.”In an effort to continually improve the town’s park facilities and recreational programs, the park board created a public survey to seek the community’s input. The survey consisted of approximately 20 questions pertaining to all park facilities, recreational programs, funding, maintenance, services, future of the Burnworth Memorial Pool and expenses which are incurred annually with the pool. Expenses for the pool continue to exceed revenues and major repairs are an ongoing concern among park board members.“We need feedback from the community on the survey,” board president Kelley Sheiss said. “We want to make sure it’s (kiddie pool) the safest place for the little ones to go.”Board member Dennis Warnick is not in favor of opening up the kiddie pool again, but more in favor of a splash pad in that area. Board recorder Mauri Bordner has safety concerns with the kiddie pool.“Splash pad (in kiddie pool area) would not be as big as the one in Morsches Park because of water lines,” Green said. With the kiddie pool closed last year, Sheiss has concerns with young children playing in the area.“The kiddie pool was closed off, but not closed off to young kids, so we still have little kids playing over in that empty area — that probably concerns me more,” Sheiss said. Repairs and maintenance for the Burnworth Pool were approximately $18,000 last summer. Sheiss suggested a five-year plan on the pools which would include water lines, heaters, bath house, and storage area for chemicals, which are changing from liquid to powder.“It is going to be a cost, but it (Burnworth Pool) is a unique place,” Bordner said. With a new pool committee formed, park board members will continue this discussion at the next schedule meeting at 6 p.m. on April 18.Parking along the circle drive entrance and expanded parking for the Burnworth pool was discussed and tabled to the next meeting.“I don’t understand why there is a parking issue — if you park along the circle drive it makes it more difficult for families to drive up in there to drop their kids off,” Bordner said. “There is parking (20 spaces) on the east side of the pool and the north side of the pool there is 35 spaces between the school and pool. We got the whole parking lot when there is no school.”Due to a lack of parking during summer leagues, camping in Morsches Park will cease in 2012.“They (campers) can camp this year, but in 2012 camping goes away in the park,” Warnick said. “This will provide for additional park amenities.”In other business, the 25-year-old playground equipment located by the park office is deteriorating and should be replaced, according to Green. “We have done a lot of repairs over the years and we have difficulty finding parts,” Green said. “We are going to pursue a grant from the Kellogg Foundation for new playground equipment and/or improvements.”In conclusion, pursuing a no-tobacco use policy within the parks was discussed and tabled until the next meeting. “We set an example by saying we are smoke-free and all Columbia City parks should be tobacco-free,” Warnick said. “This may be premature right now, we should wait to see what the state legislature does.”Sheiss suggested that Green check with other parks to see how they enforce no-smoking regulations.“This (no-smoking) needs to be in place for our youth,” Sheiss said.