Will London’s pool ever re-open?
By Jane Beathard
What (and how much) will it take to open and operate the London Municipal Swimming Pool this summer? A representative of the London Community Organization posed that question to city council on Thursday.
Steve Lelonek said his organization is willing to raise needed funding and recruit community volunteers to perform routine maintenance, once council and city auditor Katie Hensel provide a true estimate of the cost. Lelonek said the LCO plans to raise $20,000 to $25,000 for the project.
“That’s our goal,” he told council. “Are you comfortable with this amount?”
The pool was a casualty of cuts in London’s 2013 budget. Without independent funding, those cuts mean the pool will remain shuttered this year.
But good intentions by the LCO may not be sufficient.
Hensel said the pool generates $28,000 to $30,000 in revenue annually, but costs as much as $50,000 to operate. The 2012 shortfall was $30,000.
“That was an anomaly,” Hensel said. “We had to replace some pumps.”
London Safety-Services Director Steve Hume noted any decision to raise money and open the pool must be made quickly in order to hire a manager, lifeguards and other staff in time for a June opening.
“We’re pushing the envelope time-wise,” he said.
In addition, needed electrical and pump upgrades are likely to add as much as $15,000 to opening costs this year. Much of the work must be performed by certified pool technicians, not volunteers, Hume added.
In short, he estimated cost of opening and operating the pool will run $60,000 to $70,000 this summer.
Council member Steve Scaggs noted unanticipated repairs could send the bill higher.
“There are a lot of unknowns,” Scaggs said.
Hensel promised to provide Lelonek with a firm figure in coming weeks.
Also on Thursday, council member Alan Knowles introduced an ordinance to name the portion of Keny Boulevard between Elm Street and state Route 56 as the Dorothea Reynolds Memorial Boulevard. Mrs. Reynolds was a single parent who raised four sons in London. All were outstanding athletes who earned reputations beyond Madison County.
Bob Reynolds thanked Knowles for his effort and said naming the street in honor of his mother will inspire other single parents.
“They will say ‘if Dorothea Reynolds could do it, maybe I can do it,’” he said.
In other meeting business on Thursday, council:
• Established a new fund for $183,000 in grant money from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to demolish blighted housing in the county.
• Approved an ordinance allocating distribution of new revenues if the .05 percent income tax increase passes on May 7.
• Approved $39,600 in local funding to repave Center Street east of Main Street. The repaving is part of a $2 million state project to re-surface state Route 665 from London to the Franklin County line.