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City To Hear Public Input On Fate Of Wichita's Pools

Carla Eckels
The city pool at Edgemoor Park in Wichita has been closed for several seasons due to maintenance issues.

An earlier version of this piece originally aired July 14, 2015, during All Things Considered.

The fate of several of Wichita's swimming pools will be decided with the help of local residents.

The city will decide how to spend $18 million on its aquatics plan over the next decade. The money comes from its Capital Improvement Program fund.

Credit Carla Eckels, File Photo / KMUW

The city pool at Edgemoor Park is one of nine in Wichita. It’s been closed for several seasons due to maintenance issues. Brian Hill, director of the city's aquatics program, says resident input will help shape the plans for the pools.

"Some are on life support that we’ve kept going on," Hill says. "We’ve got a really good park maintenance group and a very good public works outfit that do a really good job of keeping these pools going and our pools are safe, but we’re spending a lot of money on repairs and we’re not sure how long we’re going to be able to keep some of these pools going."

A list of possible options include building a centralized indoor pool, upgrade existing facilities or closing some pools. Residents will be able to vote on the list that will be presented to the City Council by the end of August.

A public meeting will be held at the Edgemoor Park recreation center Wednesday night at 6 p.m.

Options for city pools being discussed include:

Centralized Indoor Pool

  • All year aquatics - lessons, programs, classes, events, economic impact
  • Less funding for outdoor pools
  • Increase in operations costs
  • Indoor facilities can be operated at 100% cost recovery

Repair/Upgrade Local Pool

  • Upgrade Filtration System from DE to Sand Filter
  • Fix structural issues
  • Improve Bathhouse
  • Diminishing Returns on Investment
  • Status Quo Operations

Replace Local Pool

  • More Inclusive with Modern features
  • 30 - 50 year lifespan
  • Funding covers 3 Pool Replacements
  • Limited Season

Splash Pad

  • Funding for conversion of all Locations
  • Greatly reduces operation costs
  • Ability to stay cool in the heat
  • Focus on younger kids
  • Not able to teach lessons or other programs

Close Local Pool

  •  Low attendance pools closed with funding reallocated to other areas
  • Park repurposed for other activities