City officials hope Blackfoot pool bond makes it through round two
BLACKFOOT — In May residents voted on a $5 million bond to renovate the Blackfoot Municipal Swimming Pool. The bond failed just 15 votes shy of the needed 66.7 percent supermajority. In one week residents will be faced with the decision once more.
“The $5 million bond is meant to take this pool back to a like new condition it will take care of all of the problems that currently exist and problems that could arise in the future,” City Council President Chris Jensen says.
Although the 45-year-old pool has had renovations over the years, the city has proposed a bond that will transform the old pool into a like new facility.
Currently, the city subsidizes some $200,000 for the pool annually, but they feel a $5 million bond is vital for the pool’s lifespan.
“It will remove the existing pool. The existing pool is an aluminum pool and it’s not in the best of shape. The chlorine took its toll on it over the years,” Jensen says.
The major issues at the Blackfoot Municipal Swimming Pool are insulation that retains water, hanging light fixtures and other wall features that are rusting and prone to fall, as well as the aluminum base of the swimming pool.
“We would reuse the dome and the foundation of the locker room area, and the office area that’s going to all be completely renovated. The whole pool is going to be redesigned,” Aquatics manager Jeanette Spears says.
Jensen says some residents would like to see a brand new facility or even a recreational center.
“There are groups in town that want something brand-new, brand-new is going to cost a lot more money than fixing what we’ve got, and it really won’t add any functionality. Those people that want a rec center, that would be great, but that’s that much-added cost for the building,” Jensen said.
Jensen says keeping the pool makes economic sense, and having it open all year attracts East Idahoans.
“Businesses don’t want to come to a town where you don’t have things that your kids can go do,” Jensen says. “Having a pool that’s open all year is a great benefit because it brings in people from all over. We get people from Pocatello, Aberdeen and all the way up to Shelley and Firth that come in and use this facility because it’s open all year.”
Some of the new designs include a splash pad for kids, new insulation, new windows, renovated locker rooms, a new concrete pool with five lanes suitable for swim meets, and a zero-entry feature helpful for people with disabilities or who are in wheelchairs. An in-ground hot tub may also be an option for the remodeled facility.
For homeowners, the property tax would increase by $4.18 per month, per $100,000 of taxable value. Spears says although the $5 million sounds lofty the bond money would not be wasted. The bond has a 20-year repayment term. The anticipated dollar amount of interest to be repaid is $2,027,107; the total amount to be repaid over the life of the bond is $7,027,107.
“After sitting down and hashing this out for the last year, it would be well spent,” Spears says.