Plans are in place for the kiddie pool at Shields Park Pool as opening day approaches in late May.
During a meeting earlier this week, the Seymour Parks and Recreation Department board approved spending up to $15,000 to fill in the kiddie pool with concrete and install two splash pad features. That came on a 4-0 vote with President Monica Riley absent.
Program Director Chad Keithley said it will take 20 yards of concrete to fill in the pool, and the cost per yard is $100 to $125. Parks Director Stacy Findley said the two splash pad features she recommended cost $3,120 and $3,660.
She said the concrete funding would come from the materials budget, and the splash pad features will be paid for out of the aquatics budget line. The plan is for city employees to do the work.
“We’re really trying to be mindful of our savings,” Findley said. “I just wanted to make sure more than anything that we didn’t dip into our savings because we do have a lot of projects.”
During last month’s meeting, Findley announced the pool would be filled in with concrete and the existing spray features or new ones would be available for kids to use, which set better with the board than the previous plan to close the kiddie pool for the upcoming season.
Keithley said everything underneath the kiddie pool is gone, and Findley said the pool has been leaking 5,000 gallons of water a day. Since there’s no plumbing, Keithley said water is going into the ground, which in turn is going to cause more cracking and breaking away.
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.
The concrete will have a brushed finish, which will provide slip resistance. Findley said that’s often used for splash pads so it’s not slippery.
“The baby pool is really slick now. It’s like an ice rink,” said Dave Boggs, who manages the pool with his wife, Chris.
Spear Corp. also was contacted for pricing on the water fixtures. New ones were needed because the current ones are made of fiberglass that is exposed and has had to be painted each year, Findley said.
“I knew for sure that I didn’t want something that dumped water on kids’ heads. I have a toddler that does not like that,” she said. “The biggest thing with the features is we just wanted something that would keep the concrete cool, something that sprays out water and also something inexpensive.”
Of the 10 options presented, Findley picked Aqua Dome No. 1 and Aqua Dome No. 2, which were the least expensive. According to the manufacturer, Vortex, those are the favorite water features for spray parks, and both provide a bell-shaped water effect for game playing or an immersive play experience for kids of all ages and abilities.
“They look the same, but they are different heights,” Findley said. “We have existing fencing there, so versus parents of babies to toddlers to preschool age not having anything, this will be a fenced-in area where they’ll have something to do while the big kids are playing.”
Findley also said with the anticipation of more young kids being at the pool this summer, the parks department ordered nearly 40 youth life jackets.
Board member Kendra Zumhingst asked about the plan in the event these two water features aren’t in stock and can’t be installed in time for the pool opening. Findley agreed it’s good to have a fallback option, and she said three others are in the price range, more than $7,000 apiece. That’s when Seymour Mayor Matt Nicholson suggested going with a not-to-exceed vote.
Zumhingst made that motion, Art Juergens seconded and it passed.
Keithley said one good thing about the water features is they can be used at another location with a splash pad, like the one being constructed at Westside Park.
“So it’s not anything that we’re just going to purchase now and not use in the future,” he said. “All of these water features for any type of splash pad, basically, all they are is just a quick connect, so you can actually insert that on about any spray pad feature. They can be reused or they could be put on the outside of the kiddie pool shooting the water into the kiddie pool.”
That was brought up after discussion about the future plans for Shields Park Pool, which call for a new competitive pool and a new kiddie pool. Findley said the hope is to accomplish that within the next three years as part of the parks department’s five-year master plan.
“We have taken a look at the plumbing. We know that no matter what we do, the plumbing underneath is not going to last forever. This is a short-term fix,” she said of the upcoming project to fill in the kiddie pool and add two new water features.
Findley said she would like to see the previously developed plans for the pool updates carried over because they paid for the concept design. Along with making the kiddie pool compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act by being zero-entry and having rounded corners, she would like to add concessions seating and an outdoor restroom.
Dave Boggs asked when the filtration system for the pool will be redone because he said it was installed in the 1990s and should have been changed at least once, if not twice. Findley said she would have to ask the city council to appropriate money for her department because there are two filters and they cost $150,000 apiece.
“That thing is on its last leg,” Dave said. “If we get through this summer, that will be a Milan Miracle.”
City Councilman Chad Hubbard was at the parks board meeting and said he would bring that up during the council meeting that night.
“This could cause us a problem this summer because if it goes down, we’ll have to shut down the pool,” Hubbard told his fellow councilmen.
Councilman Jerry Hackney asked how long it would take to replace the filters, and Nicholson said it depends on availability of materials and estimated the work taking a week or two.
“I don’t think it snuck up on anybody,” Councilman Bret Cunningham said. “A plan to pay for this stuff would be a whole lot better than just constantly coming asking for money. This is the second pool issue. None of this was brought up when ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds were there, so I’d like to have a business plan, something better than a wish list.”
The council did not take any action on this issue during the meeting.
In terms of the long-term plans for the pool, HWC Engineering deemed the kiddie pool the highest priority, followed by the updated filtration in the large pool and an updated slide.