WATERVILLE — The municipal swimming pool on North Street needs repair work to the tune of about $1.18 million and is in danger of being out of compliance with laws on issues such as circulation and water flow, a top city official says.

The comments from Parks and Recreation Director Matt Skehan come after entry fee rates were raised at the pool at the beginning of this past summer, the pool’s 18th season.

“Some of the pool structures are beginning to deteriorate,” Skehan said Wednesday. “The concrete deck has settled in various locations, the slides are beginning to wear and crack, the recirculation and filtration systems need to be upgraded and the main pool itself is beginning to exhibit structural problems.”

The city, he said, wants to get ahead of as many of those problems as possible so it can plan accordingly.

“We’re fortunate to have a great staff here,” Skehan said. “I’m hopeful that many of the renovations, or at least preparations and site work for the renovations, can be done in-house.”

Not only is the structure of the Alfond Municipal Pool starting to break down, but it also needs to come into compliance with laws regarding circulation, water flow and other issues, Skehan told members of the City Council on Tuesday night. He said Wednesday that the laws and standards are required by either the American National Standard for Public Swimming Pools or Code of Maine Regulations.

Skehan addressed councilors Tuesday, saying that each year at this time, he likes to update them on how the pool is operating. The city’s fiscal year is July 1 to June 30.

The pool brought in about $85,000 so far in revenue this year and expenses were about $83,000, which is in line with figures from the last six to eight years, according to Skehan.

He said that next year, officials think expenses will be $10,000 or $12,000 in May and June and they expect to bring in $12,000 to 15,000 during that period.

Mayor Nick Isgro said in an interview Wednesday that he thinks it is too early to get riled up about the estimated $1.18 million to fix the pool.

“I think there is some sticker shock when we hear that price for a facility that does not necessarily make us any money,” he said, “but I think what’s important with something like this is that we just all take a deep breath and let people like Matt and our parks and recreation committee come forward with a long-term plan.”

Isgro said no one is saying the city has to go out tomorrow and spend a million dollars. But the reality is, a lot of the cost has to do with having to follow state and federal regulations developed by some “unelected bureaucrat who decides to make new rules about water flow,” Isgro said

“I think it’s a good commentary on overregulation by the government,” he said.

The pool area is like an outdoor water park. It has two water slides; two kiddie pools with features such as dolphins, frogs and a spray pad; and a snack shack. The pool opens in mid-June and stays open about nine weeks.

For Jessica Willett, of Waterville, it is a valuable resource, and she wholly supports the idea of renovating the facility.

She said her own yard is not large enough to build a pool and she and her three children love to socialize at the municipal pool. For the past four years, the family has bought season passes, which is less costly than going to a water park for a day, according to Willett.

“It’s been worth every penny,” she said.

A pool professional inspected the pool recently and provided a list of things that need to be done to the pool, which has suffered harsh winters, Skehan said. The city needs to meet with the professional again, as well as with City Engineer Greg Brown, to discuss a plan to work on pool improvements in phases, he said.

Representatives of Weston & Sampson Engineers Inc. say the facility needs renovation in order to come into compliance with current codes and guidelines that were not enacted when it was built in 1999, according to Skehan. Action also must be taken to correct some deficiencies in construction and fatigue from 17 years of service, he said.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, Councilor Nathaniel White, D-Ward 2, expressed concern about the water slide.

“The slide was closed half of the season as well, and that draws a lot of people,” he said.

“It’s important that we get that back up to par,” Skehan replied.

White asked how much pool repairs would cost; Skehan cited the $1.18 million figure. While some money has been put aside for the pool, much more is needed, according to City Manager Michael Roy.

“We have to talk about how to plan for the repairs and pay for them going forward,” Roy said.

“Are there grant opportunities for this?” asked Council Chairman Steve Soule, D-Ward 1.

“No,” Roy said.

Skehan said Wednesday that the city has capable people who can do some of the work, and the $1.18 million figure isn’t set in stone.

“I’m expecting that we can get a lot of this done with equipment and manpower we have,” he said.

Skehan said new improvements last about 30 years. He and others will do the best they can to work on the pool.

“Don’t be alarmed; we can phase things,” he said.

The city built the pool in 1999 and has owned and maintained it since then, according to Skehan.

Meanwhile, Soule said the two picnic shelters at the playground on North Street near the pool need work. He implored the public to donate to the effort, asking what better thing could one do at Christmastime than donate $25 to the Parks and Recreation Department.

“If 15,000 people gave a dollar, it would be fixed,” he said.

Skehan said Wednesday that the concrete piers the shelters sit on are starting to break down and the concrete pads are beginning to heave and crack.

In another parks-and-recreation-related matter, Skehan said a donor recognition event will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at Quarry Road Recreation Area, after a 9 a.m. race. He said donors have given $2 million to Quarry Road through private fundraisers.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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