AMMON — Closures for maintenance and ongoing repairs to a decades-old swimming pool, has the city of Ammon planning for a new facility in the future.
Ammon city officials say that electrical, pump and filtration issues have troubled the outdoor Ammon City Swimming Pool, located off 3000 Southwick Lane in McCowin Park.
Officials want to replace the pool before it stops working completely. The pool has been around since 1967, which is 55 years.
“There were people swimming in that pool two years before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon,” Ammon Recreation Coordinator Randal Miller said.
The pool is so old that there are no existing blueprints within the county or the city that Miller can find. But Miller knows that the pool has moved beyond its expected lifespan.
“I talked with the USA swimming facility development division in Colorado Springs and (they) told me that an average lifespan of a public municipal swimming pool that was built at that time period is 40 to 50 years. If you’ve made it 40 years, you’ve done very well. The closer you get to 50 years, the tougher it is to maintain and to keep things going and we are at 55 years,” Miller said.
Earlier this summer, Miller said the pool had to close down for about a week because the pump went down. He said a lot goes on behind the scenes after hours, nights and weekends where repairs are being made to avoid closing the pool down.
“Closing down is the last thing we ever do, but sometimes it’s necessary,” he said.
That’s why Miller is trying to work ahead and get the ball rolling for a new city pool. He is part of the Ammon Pool Committee, which he explained has about 10 people on it. It’s a volunteer community committee. There have been a few fundraisers within the community to try and raise money for the new pool, which is in its early stages.
This year at Ammon Days, there will be an area for “Dunk a Teacher at Ammon Days,” which is a fundraiser to help the Ammon Pool Committee raise money for the new pool. It will take place on Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at McCowin Park. Last year, Miller said the same event was held, and there was about $1,200 raised.
The money raised will go towards initial designs and concepts for what the pool might look like.
“Three or four different ideas with estimated costs involved not only with building a pool but also maintaining and operating a pool,” Miller said.
He said they are still in the process of figuring out what exactly the community wants.
Ammon Mayor Sean Coletti said his goal is to have a pool that’s twice the size of the current one. He is considering a year-round pool with a building that could be converted from an outdoor pool in the summer to an indoor one in the winter.
“That’s what I am picturing but the cost for doing something like that, as we’ve studied it out, is probably $4 million,” Coletti said. “As far as money goes, the Ammon pool right now, it barely covers the cost of operations. Pools are very expensive and so the revenue that we would get from lessons and people just coming to swim barely covers the cost of operations.”
He has the same goal in mind as Miller, where he wants to start the process now of finding money. He explained the city carries what’s called “reserves” for special needs like emergencies.
“We have not considered budgeting for this brand new pool with reserves,” he said. “What I’d like to do is encourage and find donors who would be willing to take some naming rights on the pool in exchange for donating the cost of getting the pool built and maybe there are some other places where we can identify donors. If we were able to gather 50 to 100 donors, I think we could pull $4 million together.”
Coletti said the current city pool was actually built from donations decades ago. The residents in the neighborhood wanted to build a pool, so it took donations of time, money and materials.
“It took the public coming together to make it happen. I think … it needs another public boost, and we need some help from large organizations that care about it,” Coletti said. “Many generations of people have learned how to swim in that pool, and so there’s some affinity and love for it. People care about it. I’d like to see us put that care toward bringing about the next 55 years.”
For now, there is no specific timeline yet as to when a new pool might replace the old pool in the city of Ammon since it’s still in the beginning stages of planning. But Miller knows it’s a great asset to the community.
“The city of Ammon is growing so much. It’s a good addition to the city. We teach swim lessons here every summer and there are hundreds and hundreds of kids who go through our swim lesson program,” he said. “Also, just for the recreational benefit. Open swim, programs, lap swimming and exercise. It’s something fun to do around here.”