Rhoads kiddie pool conditions cause for concern
By Kristen Cervenak, Editor, [email protected]
The May & Joe Rhoads Pool’s condition and needed repairs were a topic of conversation at last Wednesday evening’s Harrison County Parks Dept.
Now more than 50 years old, the Corydon pool is in need of a game plan, according to parks superintendent Larry Shickles, who addressed the parks board.
Originally built in the 1970s, the kiddie pool is said to not operate at code today. Under state law, it is required for a kiddie pool to have its own filtration and circulation system.
It was found that the kiddie pool there is filled from skimmers on the large pool.
“It has no circulation in it at all,” Shickles said. “The only way to keep the kiddie pool safe is to dump it every day and refill it, but whatever you refill it with is what is staying in there all day. It’s not going to get recirculated a lot, and, once it goes out, it’s getting what we would be pumping out of the big pool.”
South Harrison Park manager Shannon Burdick began the presentation with updates going back to when a woman’s vehicle collided into the Rhoads pool house “and how it was nicely fixed. Then, you move on to the outside, and how it needs to eventually be repaired.”
Aquatic supervisor Cody Liebert added, “So, I spent my last season over the summer at Rhoads pool and our infrastructure is really nice inside. It works well for our staff. Our concession stand is where it needs to be, our front desk is where it needs to be and, as you see, our bathrooms are perfect and we have a new security system. We have a new HVAC, so we don’t have to worry about our water lines busting.
“We also updated our filtration system,” he said. “As you can see, this is our automatic controller for our chlorine, and acid levels are brand new. We have a brand new chlorinator, which is the same system we have at South Harrison (Park).”
Liebert said the concrete is not in the best condition and shared slides with photos where the concrete had been ground down and patched.
“There is a lot of patch work towards it,” Burdick said. “It’s really hard to tell what might be original and what isn’t. All of these different lines cut into the concrete and patches are major repairs that have been done, especially the two around the side of the pool, and it’s leading to the concrete breaking down around it.”
Liebert added, “Especially these areas where it has been grinded down, so it’s not on level. With that grinding, came a lot of sharp things. So if you’re walking around the deck with bare feet, you’re definitely going to feel it.”
Another issue involves the diving blocks, according to the staff. They reported the starting blocks have physically moved for years, only getting worse over time. According to Liebert, the blocks have to be taken in and out each day. On some mornings, the employees have to work them out.
Burdick also pointed out another photo of the handrails, shaky from the degradation of concrete and weakened by multiple repairs.
The team also reported that the pumps went out a few days after start-up last year, leading to “gunk” in the line, which left Liebert shoveling it out after less than 24 hours of running.
Burdick and Liebert shared other major issues with the board.
“One big thing is our lights are no longer functional in the pool,” Liebert said.
After inspection, it was determined that somewhere under the concrete there was a wire deemed no longer functional. In fact, eight of 12 lights are not functional, and it was determined they were not safe for use, due to water behind the seals.
“Water and electricity don’t mix,” Burdick said.
“When we’re cleaning the filters, the dirty water dumps into there, and there’s supposed to be a pump in the bottom of that, that pumps it out into the sewage, so we get rid of the bad water and anything we clean off the filter,” she said. “The pump at the bottom of the pit is no longer working, and we have not found anyone to go down into the pit, because you need special certifications and oxygen to go inside. That is a big issue, too.”
The filters take about an hour and a half to clean, according to Liebert, including many steps that regular staff members do not generally feel comfortable doing.
For Burdick at South Harrison Park, she said it takes her about an hour to clean the filters, which she can do two or three times a week. However, because the Rhoads pool systems are not completely updated, the pump system is harder to keep up.
“There is no clean water, no filtration or circulation in the baby pool, which, in my opinion, is not safe,” Liebert said, “It’s gotten to the point where the water is green after three days, and we’d have to drain it, bleach it and clean it. It wasn’t operable in a way I’d call a safe environment. There were several times we had to close the pool last year because it was green. It looked like a swamp in there.”
The two also presented a moldy deck chair with a broken strap and sunscreen buildup, ground down and sharpened beneath from the concrete, which is a potential hazard for metal fibers on the ground where pool visitors are walking. Much unlike the pool at SH Park, that has heavier, renovated deck furniture, Burdick said she felt was more respected.
They compared the revenue between the pools in Corydon and South Harrison Park. Total revenue for South Harrison was over $10,000 more and they found pool visitors would travel farther distances to swim at South Harrison, despite a larger population around Rhoads pool.
“We’re trying to express the fact that a renovation needs to happen, and it needs to happen soon,” Burdick said.
In 2019, major work was done to the chemical system at the Rhoads pool and $40,000 worth of grinding off 15 years of paint, according to Shickles. Due to the fact it had been coated so many times, it could not be painted again, he said.
“You only have two options, in my opinion. There is no fixing,” he said, referring to a renovation or the closure of the kiddie pool. “I’m just not comfortable putting a child in it.”
Board president Teresa Sutton agreed.
“I’m like that, too,” she said. “There is no way I’ll put my child, grandkid or anything else in that pool.”
Shickles told the board, “This isn’t a presentation to put you in a box, but it’s a presentation of reality.”
“I am not asking you to make a decision,” he said. “I am telling you what is coming. This falls into, ‘What do we want to do from here?’ ”
Sutton added, “I agree with you. Unsanitary. Health hazard. Like Shannon said, something is waiting to happen.”