by Michael Monks
THE RIVER CITY NEWS MORE COVINGTON NEWS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
|Gus Sheehan Pool in Botany Hills|
The City of Covington informed neighbors in Botany Hills Thursday night that Senator Gus Sheehan Pool would be closed permanently and demolished in the coming weeks. "We have been lucky for many years that we've been able to stretch its life," said Natalie Garnder, Covington's recreation director. "We've been putting a band-aid on it for ten years." Concrete swimming pools are typically usable for twenty years and Sheehan Pool is now over thirty years old. A letter to neighbors read:
City staff has examined the possibility of purchasing certain new mechanical equipment but this option is not possible due to problems associated with retrofitting older, existing equipment with newer parts in addition to requiring complete replacement of the majority of the current mechanical systems and piping. Another major concern was the discovery of unknown sub-surface settling issues beneath the pool. During the 2011 season, the filtration room floor sunk several inches raising concerns not only about the condition of the pool's water lines but also the 36" diameter sanitary sewer main that runs directly beneath the pool.For public safety reasons, the pool has to go. "The City has been working to identify partners whose business is providing recreation activities (like the YMCA)," said City Manager Larry Klein. "We envision a year-round recreation facility with an indoor pool. It would take more than the City alone but there's strengths in partnerships."
Meanwhile, the children of Botany Hills (formerly West Covington) could possibly be bused to Goebel Pool in Mainstrasse, a location that is often already at its capacity and is also beyond its originally projected lifespan. Unlike Sheehan's concrete, Goebel's foundation is made of aluminum which lasts longer. Klein and Gardner told The River City News that while Goebel will open this summer, its future could very much be in doubt.
|Randolph Park Pool in the Eastside|
The same is true across town at Randolph Park Pool in the Eastside which is also beyond its projected lifespan and whose concrete base is also in dire need of repair. A generous $50,000 donation from the Housing Authority of Covington will allow that pool to open this summer. Sheehan Pool joins one in Austinburg as Covington pools shut down in recent years due to the high cost of maintaining and replacing obsolete equipment.
The Botany Hills pool was suffering from more than neglect to its infrastructure, however. "I had to deal with more patron issues (at Sheehan) than at Goebel Park and Randolph Park combined," Gardner said. The pool is often a target of graffiti and was forced to open late six or seven days last season because of a large amount of trash thrown in the water, Gardner said.
"None of us wanted to do it because it was so painful but this pool is at the top of the list (of pools that need to be closed)," said City Commissioner Sherry Carran, a Botany Hills resident. Other neighbors weighed in on what could become of the secluded space at the end of Parkway Avenue with suggestions ranging from a dog park to volleyball courts. The City expressed interest in developing what it calls "passive recreation" that requires little equipment and therefor little maintenance. Two basketball courts on the site are also in decline and in need of resurfacing and nets for the hoops.
Sanitation District 1 will have to investigate the sewer pipe underneath Sheehan Pool to determine if it needs to be replaced before any other plans move forward.