Highland News Leader
Highland swimmers received good news recently regarding the city’s aging public pool.
City Council members approved seeking an audit by FGM Architects on the city’s more than 35-year-old aquatic facility in Lindendale Park.
City Manager Mark Latham said the audit will take place when the pool is opened up this year in June. He said the audit will determine how the city can best repair the pool and will weigh the cost of that versus the possibility of building a new pool.
“It’s not in the best condition,” Latham said. “It really needs some work and to have a professional go in there and give us an idea of what needs to happen.”
In December the City Council denied approval of a roughly $38,000 feasibility study for the project that would determine the best way to go about replacing the more than 35-year-old pool.
Latham said the difference between the audit and the study is that the study sought to determine how best to replace the pool. The audit will determine if replacement or repair is the best fiscal option.
“This is a different scenario here,” Latham said. “I think getting a better perspective of what it would cost to bring the existing pool up to standards ... and then weighing that against actually building a new facility.”
Highland Parks and Recreation Director Mark Rosen, who brought the request for the study through FGM Architects Inc. forward in December, said the need for a pool first arose in 2013 when it was put into the comprehensive plan of what the city may need down the line. In 2016, it was brought up again.
While the problems at the pool might not be obvious on the exterior, Rosen said, every year he wonders if the department will be able to open it.
“When you’re standing outside the pool and looking in it looks like there’s nothing wrong, but it’s when you start getting into the infrastructure that problems appear,” Rosen said. “I was disappointed because there are some real problems with the pool. Every year when it comes time to open it I’m wondering if we will be able to.”
Rosen said the pool has a laundry list of issues. At the top of that list is meeting requirements with the Americans Disability Act, which the pool currently meets.
The pool also is losing water through a leak Rosen said could be identified in the spring. The pool deck also is sinking and now “ponding”water that can lead to algae without regular cleaning.
In addition to those problems, Rosen said the baby pool has daily plumbing issues and other smaller problems.
Latham said the pool is a big part of the community and an important asset to keep up-to-date.
“A public pool is extremely important to a community,” Latham said. “Especially in Highland where 150 kids not only practice in the pool but also have swim meets.”
He added that Highland has been noted as one of the best places in the area to have swim lessons and that many people visit the city during the summer because to learn to swim.
The results of the audit will most likely be available at the end of June.