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Rhoads pool future in jeopardy

Rhoads pool future in jeopardy
Rhoads pool future in jeopardy
Swimmers enjoyed the May and Joe Rhoads Memorial Pool in Corydon last June. File photo

The public swimming pool in Corydon needs renovations done before summer, and the fix might not be permanent. The May and Joe Rhoads Memorial Pool can’t open without the work being completed.

The Harrison County Parks Dept. is requesting $120,000 in casino revenue for repairs to address the aluminum body of the pool, upgrades to the pool surface and the gutter drains, according to David Hussung, the promotional events director for the parks department. He said the work will also address how staff adds chlorine to the water, removing the need for potentially dangerous liquid chlorine with tablet chlorine. The old chemical control system doesn’t work and has been broken for a number of years, Hussung said.

“They were feeding chlorine on a continual basis,” said Larry Shickles, the Harrison County parks superintendent.

This leaves workers having to regularly check the status of the water. Installing an automated chemical control system will allow management to oversee the chlorine through cell phone apps and chlorine will be added automatically when levels begin getting low.

“It will save on manpower,” Shickles said, as will a new robotic vacuum system for cleaning the pool.

Approximately $50,000 of the cost will go to a pool coating for the body.

More work includes repainting lane line makers, depth markings and signage at each section of the pool, and the lifeguard chairs that sit in the concrete on the deck will be removed and replaced with new chairs for staff to oversee swimmers and divers.

“We have a lifeguard sitting on a single pole coming out of concrete at an angle,” Shickles said. “Well, they’re all rusted at the bottom. So, all the lifeguards are petrified every year, you ask them to climb up on those. The new ones are portable so they’re not below-surface mounted.”

All this, if completed, would allow the kiddie pool to reopen.

The request was unanimously approved Feb. 3 by the Harrison County Board of Commissioners.

Commissioner Jim Heitkemper asked how many years the parks department could get out of the pool if all the work is done.

Hussung said he didn’t know, but added this list of work had to be done or the pool can’t open come Memorial Day weekend.

Heitkemper asked the question another way about the pool’s future past 2020.

“Are we rolling the dice?” he asked.

Hussung said it comes down to county officials deciding if they wanted to have a county-operated pool in Corydon or not.

“You have to roll the dice,” Hussung said.

There have been discussions about selling the pool and the property or replacing the pool, but Hussung said that’s a plan that could take several years.

“In the meantime, what do you do?” he asked.

Heitkemper said he thinks the pool needs to be opened. A regional swimming event is expected to take place at the Corydon pool this summer.

“We’ll have kids from multiple counties and quite a few people at that event,” Shickles said.

The Harrison County Council heard the request at its meeting Monday night and could make a decision at its next meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 24, at the government center in Corydon.

Also Monday night, the council approved a $350,000 request for the purchase of a new fire truck for the New Middletown Volunteer Fire Dept., as part of a three-year plan between the county fire departments. The tanker will cost close to $360,000. The department’s chief, Mike Riley, said his department will find ways to cover the remaining $10,000 to make the purchase.