Athens Pool Repairs May Include Band-Aid Fix

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The Athens City pool has been deteriorating for the last ten years. While city officials hope to reopen the facility by Memorial Day, a new liner – at a cost of $160,000 – may be too pricey.

“(We’re) looking to see if there’s some ways, some products out there, to patch the liner and to kind of coddle the pool along is the game plan at this point in time,” Athens Mayor Steve Patterson said.

pool warmCrews have been working to determine if the pool can hold water. Tests are being conducted by the Department of Arts, Parks and Recreation to learn the extent of the needed repairs.

What is obvious is the current state of the liner: a large rip in the shallow end and tiny holes appearing throughout. Andrew Chiki, who oversees aquatics with the department said he will also be testing pumps and other systems to determine the total cost of repairs.

pool cold Patterson said the city’s decision on how to proceed will be based on Chiki’s findings. He said the city is willing to replace any part of the pool within a reasonable cost, but he’s not sure if it would be beneficial for the city to spend $160,000 on a pool liner that would be used for one summer.  The city has approved $500,000 authorizing the city auditor to seek engineering services in order to replace the pool after this season.

Should the city decide to replace the liner, Chiki said it would have to make a decision as soon as possible to allow bidding for the project. Patterson said the city is already talking with vendors and would be able to find one in time for the project to be completed by Memorial Day.

Patterson said other options are being considered if the city decides not to replace or repair the liner.  They include using Ohio University’s aquatic center or  installing splash pads in the city parks.

Councilman Kent Butler, D-1st Ward, said everyone on council agrees with the mayor in their desire to reopen the pool by summer.

“I think council, similar to the mayor, would like to see the pool open because it’s a valuable recreational resource for the people of our county,” he said.

A decision about the pool’s future for the summer should be made within the next month.