Parks board approves plans for kiddie pool

Seymour Parks and Recreation Department board members weren’t thrilled about closing the kiddie pool at Shields Park Pool this year.

A committee was formed to explore options for that area to give young kids something to do.

During Monday’s board meeting, Parks Director Stacy Findley said the pool will be filled in with concrete and either the existing spray features or new ones will be available for kids to use.

Since the Feb. 20 meeting when the closure was announced, Findley and Program Director Chad Keithley met with fellow city officials to see what could be done.

“We have the existing filtration system. We have drainage. What could be done with the current kiddie pool so folks have something to do this summer?” Findley said.

Keithley said everything underneath the kiddie pool is gone, and Findley said the pool has been leaking 5,000 gallons of water a day.

“There’s no plumbing. (Water) is going into the ground, which in turn is going to cause eventually more cracking and breaking away,” Keithley said.

After talking to Seymour Water Pollution Control officials about the mechanical structure of the pool, Findley said it was determined to fill in the kiddie pool with concrete.

“We have three existing lines with some spray features. Take those lines, take them up to the surface, fill it in and have two structures on both sides of the walkway,” she said.

“By going into our current filtration system and into our current drainage, we would be replacing all of that … and then filling in concrete to where everything would still drain to those two features and everything would drain into our current sewer system,” Keithley said.

Findley said this idea was shared with Spear Corp., which built the current pool and will be installing the splash pad at Westside Park, and company officials agreed that plan makes sense.

“You already have the existing plumbing, what you need. Basically, you have the water source to pull water from,” she said. “We learned a lot with all of this, not only the kiddie pool but with the splash pad. You have to have a body of water or a filtration system, and we would have that, pulling the water that has already been chemically treated.”

Findley said new spray features will need to be purchased because the current ones are made of fiberglass and that is exposed and has had to be painted each year.

One problem is she’s unsure how fast she could get new ones installed.

“Worst case, we could paint them and just use the existing structures that we have,” she said. “I do think it would feel like a completely new amenity if we did add updated features. Once Spear Corp. gives us the pricing, depending on what it is, I could look at other places. If it’s reasonable, go ahead and get it in.”

Board member Kendra Zumhingst asked how much the project would cost, and Keithley said the biggest expenses would be the two new spray features and concrete to fill in the kiddie pool. Findley said she wanted to determine if the board was in favor of the plans before getting costs.

Board President Monica Riley asked if this work could be completed in time for the pool season, which starts around Memorial Day. Findley said the work would be done in-house by parks and WPC employees and possibly borrowing some equipment from the Seymour Department of Public Works.

“For the most part, it’s stuff that we would be able to do ourselves,” Findley said. “The biggest thing would be when could we get the structures by.”

Besides the leaking internally and externally, Findley said the design of the kiddie pool is an issue. It’s a rectangle and has a step-down entry, but it needs to be zero-entry and have rounded corners.

“We have put Band-Aids on it, but that still doesn’t change the design,” she said. “It’s a step-down pool, which is an insurance nightmare. Pools now have moved to the zero-entry, which makes it accessible, so even if we could get the leak finished, it’s still not going to change the design, which is one of the worst parts about it.”

Board Vice President Bethany Rust asked about the long-term plan because the competitive pool needs some work, too. Findley said that pool needs an updated filtration system with two new filters, which cost $150,000 apiece.

The kiddie pool was deemed the highest priority by HWC Engineering, followed by the updated filtration in the large pool and an updated slide.

Findley estimated the cost of those three projects would be around $2.5 million.

“From a fundraising perspective, what’s going to have to happen is we’re going to have what they call seed money,” she said. “We’re going to have to have some type of city capital dollars, like a park bond or something like that, for me to have eligible matching dollars for different grants. I have different grants in mind, but I’m going to have to have matching dollars.”

That will require the project being a priority for the city as a whole, not just the parks and rec department, to make this happen, she said.

While she would like to see new spray features at the kiddie pool, Rust said she wouldn’t want to spend a bunch of money on those only to have to take them out if a new pool is going to be constructed.

“We would like to see some new structures if they are affordable because we ultimately know that this is a temporary fix,” Findley said. “Another thing I could find out, too, is if we would buy these fixtures, if we could reuse these fixtures whenever we go to update the kiddie pool. I also think that would be a neat idea, like could we integrate these into the new design.”

Zumhingst said if pricing, availability and installation of the spray features could be determined, that would be the way to go for now.

“I feel like we have to make this happen this year,” she said of offering something for young kids at the pool.

Findley said the department also could move forward with filling the kiddie pool with concrete and getting the internal plumbing where it needs to be so the existing spray structures could at least be used.

Zumhingst made a motion to approve that plan, Rust seconded and it passed on a unanimous 5-0 vote.