The heat has finally arrived in Bryan County this summer.
And a very popular place to go to beat the heat is the city pool in Carl Albert Park in Durant.
The pool opened for the season in May and Jacque Wilson, Deputy City Manager for the City of Durant, said things have started well.
“In the last two years, we’ve opened up with a Splash Day, which is basically a free day for people to come in and enjoy the pool,” Wilson said. “And this year, for the first time ever, we actually had to close admission, as far as people coming in and out. We had 400-plus people, so we stopped admission, because 450 is the max we can have in the pool.
“Throughout the day, overall, our numbers were a little over 500 people.”
But this year will be the last for the city pool, at least as it is currently.
“Every year, we have to do an inspection with the health department,” Wilson said. “And it’s funny because the law is actually called a ‘public bath,’ which terminology is a little odd. But they have to inspect it.
“We’ve had a vinyl liner in the pool for many years. It’s always been out of code, but the health department has allowed us to do this by waver. But because of the deteriorating condition of the liner, they said that this is the last year. And they did this contingent upon us coming up with a plan to revitalize the pool.”
A plan has been brought forward as a notional to the city council, and it was discussed Tuesday night at the regular June meeting city council.
“We put forward a plan that has been to the city council twice with a range of roughly $800,000 to $2.7 million to repair the pool,” Wilson said.
“The smaller amount is to do enough to get up to ADA compliance and things that are required because right now the pool, built in 1970, doesn’t have all those things.
“The larger amount, the $2.7 million, is if you want to get the pool up to the highest level, to have more robust slides and play areas, to redesign the actual shape of the pool to make it more of a modern shape, with splash pads, etc. We don’t know what the full end of that is, because we’ve only done a preliminary assessment, but that’s where we got the range from.”
The issue is not a new one and Durant citizens have for some years expressed support for the city having a municipal pool.
“One of the things I will say that spurred this on, is if you go back and look at the city councils and how this has evolved, when it was first announced that we were having issues with the liner, we were having citizens come forward, several, who basically told the council members how important the pool was for them,” Wilson said.
And having the people of the city involved is a welcomed thought.
“Of interesting note, and I haven’t validated this, but I’m pretty sure this is right and this is part of the lore of the pool, when the pool was first built back in the 70’s, they actually had parades and community drives to help raise the money for the building of the pool.
“One of the things we see with all the pools and parks and everything with a city, is the more you have the community involvement in the building and design and the usage, the more it’s going to be of value to the community. My personal opinion is that historically that’s where Durant has done really well.”