City board recommends Memorial Pool closure - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

City board recommends Memorial Pool closure

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

The future for a staple in the community for many La Crosse families is unclear.     

Memorial pool, right next to UW-La Crosse campus, has served the La Crosse community for 78 years. 

"There are so few places where we congregate as families and community members these days. This is one of those really essential ones," Jacob Sciammas said. He lives in the Grandview Emerson Neighborhood Association, nearby the pool. 

Every summer families gather for swimming lessons, diving, and place to hang out.  But it seems old age has taken over.

"The pool is in serious disrepair. I think everyone agree to that," Sciammas said. 

Annual repairs are too much for the city to handle. The Board of Park Commissioners will recommend the city council vote to close the pool for the upcoming season but with a plan to appropriate 2017 funds to finding a long term solution.

"The bottom itself of the pool is constantly kind of eroding away," Parks & Rec. Superintendent Jay Odegaard explained. 

"More of the pool is patched than it actually is of the pool liner," Odegaard said. 

The city Parks and Rec. Department said it would cost at least $50,000 dollars just to open the pool this year. That doesn't begin cover the pool house and the the upgrades it needs.

Pipes are rusted, corroded and so old companies no longer make replacement parts. 

"The ceilings coming down here, there's water leaks in the whole area, we suspect there could be asbestos in here," Park & Rec. Director Steve Carlyon explained. 

Cracked gutter cause the pool leak 7,500 gallons gallon of water.

"It does raise questions about the sustainability of running a facility that's in essence kind of wasting that much good water on a daily basis," Odegaard said. 

The city said it doesn't make sense to keep putting money into the pool. 

"In the last 4-5 years we've put over $100,000 in here. We're opening much later, we're not operating very efficiently and the minute we try to touch the structure, that's going to bring everything into ADA compliance and that's going to drive the cost up," Carlyon said. 

But families don't want lose an essential part of the neighborhood. 

"If we are serious about neighborhood revitalization, this is an exact example. We hear about it a lot. Let's demonstrate that we revitalizing the city with a serious investment in this location," Sciammas said. 

He wants to make sure there is a pool in the community close enough for his kids to commute to. 

But the City said it's time to take a closer look at Memorial Pool and begin to look at its options

"The first step is to shut this down, don't put any more money into it, the next step is to set up a feasibility study and involve the neighbors, involve the neighborhoods, involve the community in a conversation about an allocation of tax dollars and where that should go," Carlyon said.

The City Board of Park Commissioners voted Thursday to recommend the council close the pool this summer but work with a consultant to come up with a plan that could involve renovating the original pool or finding a new location.    

For this summer the city is looking expand hours at both Erickson and Northside pools.    

The city is also looking to partner with the university to see if Mitchell Hall pool could be open to the community this summer. 

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