Corroded parts at the Myers Memorial Pool in Winooski could require an expensive fix.
It's January and nobody's jumping in Winooski's outdoor municipal pool, but the fate of the swimming facility is under discussion.
The six-lane pool on Pine Street is ailing. The cinder-block construction leaks, the pumps are shot and the filters need to be replaced. Repairs needed just to open the pool in June could total more than $25,000 and might keep it running for just the summer, if that, city officials say.
"We've been putting it together with baling wire and chewing gum for way too long," said Katherine "Deac" Decarreau, Winooski city manager.
The City Council is trying to decide whether to put repair money in the budget for fiscal 2017 to fix the pool, or to close it and focus on the question of building a new one. A new pool could cost between $250,000 and $1.5 million for a big, heated facility.
The council is expected to decide in February. Residents weighed in at a meeting last week. Several people said they like having a pool in the city's mix of amenities, and asked that, if the pool closes next summer, some alternative be offered, especially for local children.
"I think it's something we all value," said Decarreau.
The Myers Memorial Pool opened in 1975 and cost about $200,000. Many Winooski children learned to do swim turns and racing dives there on the city swim team. They still do on a multi-town team, although Winooski now pays the Greater Burlington YMCA about $31,000 to run aquatic programs, including the swim team and also the "Camp Splash" free swim lessons for children and birthday pool parties. Admission is $1 for Winooski children and $2 for adults.
It will be up to the voters and the city council to decide if they want a new pool, Decarreau said. If the council decides not open the pool this summer, city leaders will look into temporary alternatives. "We know we need things for kids to do."