Can Elkhorn swimming pool stay afloat?

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Darryl Enriquez
Thursday, March 10, 2011
— Elkhorn's aging municipal swimming pool at Sunset Park may be on its last legs, but it'll be opened for at least one more season, officials say.

The decision comes despite a recent legal opinion that the city runs substantial risk that injuries and even death might occur if the pool is operated in its current condition.

"I as a mayor would like to keep it open as many years as possible," Elkhorn Mayor Howie Reynolds said. "I'm 99 percent sure that for sure it'll open this year. I don't think there's anything serious enough to close it this year."

The city council asked attorney Ward D. Phillips for an opinion on the city's liability should a mishap occur from the deteriorating conditions of the pool.

Ward concluded that state law on recreational use of public facilities allows the city to claim immunity from liability unless someone could prove injury was caused by maliciousness, according to his letter.

As part of Ward's review, he studied a memo from Jeffrey Simons, parks and recreation director, about the condition of the pool.

"I am concerned that some of the issued raised by Mr. Simons, while perhaps not a violation of an existing safety regulation, are serious enough that the city has recognized a known danger such that immunity under (state law) could be lost," Ward wrote.

Simons' memo states:

-- The bathhouse roof is rotting, and lifeguard stands need replacing.

-- Locker rooms are insecure because people can climb the side of the crumbling walls to get inside.

-- Bracing on the surge tank has rusted off and it's bowing, and a wall in mechanical room is crumbling.

-- The pool deck is deteriorating.

-- Problems with the concrete behind pool walls cause it to leak water.

-- Some filters need replacing, and a pipe for the pool is leaking.

Reynolds said that at some point the council would have to decide on a spending cap for pool repairs.

The pool opened in the mid 1960s when Reynolds was in junior high school, and he says he hates to see it close. He wants to encourage residents to begin fundraising for a replacement.

Last updated: 4:47 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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