Fayette pool won't open this summer 4.16

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Hope for a cool summer ahead because Fayette’s cooling off spot won’t be available this year.

Village council members voted unanimously Thursday to accept the park board’s recommendation to close the community swimming pool for the summer.

“We voted to close the pool for at least this year due to funding,” park board president Jen Williams said.fay.pool.jpg

The board would reopen the pool in 2009 if funding were available, but board members don’t see how that could happen without a levy for maintenance. The board will explore placing the issue on the November ballot.

Board members have begun discussing a variety of fund-raising activities for pool operation, but maintenance needs could only be filled by a large infusion of cash.

Village employee Scott Wagner told council that operational costs came in at about $22,300 last year, but admission revenue amounted to only to about $5,000. That shortfall is covered by the $18,000 the park board receives from the existing park levy.

“All the money we get is being used to pay for the pool,” Wagner said. “It’s not fair at all.”

The basketball courts need resurfacing, he said, and when old playground equipment breaks, it has to be replaced because of insurance regulations. There’s also been discussion about adding another volleyball court, Wagner said.

Even if fund-raisers were successful enough to cover operational costs, expensive repairs are needed. Wagner received an estimate of $100,000 to address the problems  of the 30-plus year-old pool and perhaps four times that amount to construct a new pool.

“We don’t like to close it,” Williams said. “We know it’s a big part of the community.”

Wagner said there were two public meetings scheduled last year to discuss the pool. No one showed up for one meeting and one person came to the other.

“That showed me there isn’t much interest in the community,” he said.

With the pool closed, park revenue would cover the cost of five summer park employees—estimated at $12,500—and provide some funding for future projects.

Council members also approved the request to hire five employees who will be paid on a per-job basis rather than an hourly rate.

Williams said board members want to expand the board to include representatives from Gorham and Franklin Township.

That idea has come up in past years, also, said councilor Ruth Marlatt.

“It comes up now and then and it stalls,” she said.

The townships could also share in the cost burden of the park, council member Jerry Gonzales said.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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