One of the questions we get asked often at city hall is, “Where is the new pool?” or “Why can’t we just reopen the old City Pool?”
We wish we could tell everyone that the pool will be open tomorrow, or the picture of the beautiful pool that is heading this article is on the way! The truth is, we simply can’t afford it right now. If you’re like me, you might not realize just how expensive a public pool actually is. It’s really nothing like having a pool installed at your house. In Oklahoma, public pools are regulated by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, and requires the owner to obtain an operational license and comply with many design, operational and safety provisions. If you’re interested, surf over to www.ok.gov and search “public bathing places” or just click the link below.
The City ran into compliance issues season after season, and finally was just unable to comply with the rules, without a major overhaul of our existing pool. The City Council was well aware of the citizens feelings about having a pool, and contacted a contractor, SGS, who came out in June of 2015 to meet with Mayor Greg Cummings, and to inspect the pool. After the meeting, their recommendation was it would be cheaper to build brand new, than to bring the existing pool into compliance with current regulations. They went on to quote the projected cost for building a new pool, and the structures necessary to comply with State codes. The initial quote was for $1,528,000.00. I was given permission to attach the quote so you can have a look.
When City Manager, Janet Smith took over in Fall 2015, the City Council let her know how important a pool was to the citizens of Crescent, but she was also facing significant water and sewer projects that were critical for the City to be able to deliver services to residents. In 2016 she reached out to Paddock Enterprises, the company that originally built the existing city pool. Paddock came out and assessed the condition of the existing pool and came to the same conclusion as SGS the previous year….cheaper to start over than bring the existing pool into compliance with current codes. They would not provide an estimate without the city engaging them (paying) for initial planning work, and then locking into a 3 year agreement to build or surrender all design and engineering work. The initial document doesn’t show costs, but City Manager Smith told me Donald Paddock indicated the quote from SGS was in-line with that the city should expect for construction costs. Janet took the information back to The City Council, where it was discussed. As much as residents would like to have a pool, and as much as the city would like to provide them with one…the cost is simply too much for the city to bear at this time. So now what?
In an effort to provide residents with some relief from the Oklahoma heat, The City Council asked the Manager to research a Splash Pad as an option that the city could afford. After careful planning, and several quotes, a vendor was selected and the project was voted on by the City Council. The Council elected to push forward and build The City Park Splash Pad. The Splash Pad project was recently completed on time, and on budget at less than 1/10 the cost of a pool! The Splash Pad uses treated fresh water, and the waste water runs into the newly renovated sewer system and helps to improve the city sewage processing capability. All in all, it’s a win for the residents of Crescent!
The City Park Splash Pad is now complete and if you drive by the park today, you’ll see City workers out testing the system, getting ready for the Grand Opening on Saturday April, 28. Come on out and celebrate with the City workers, Police and Fire Departments, Miller Ambulance Service and invited vendors. Activities begin at Noon, after the Great American Cleanup Saturday morning. We hope to see you out there, and hope you will enjoy cooling off this summer in the Splash Pad!