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.
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.