City: Park pools nice, but have more potential

— The wave pool is fun, right, but wouldn't it be nice if the waves came in different shapes and sizes?

That's part of the motivation for the Craig Parks and Recreation department bringing in the Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative to evaluate the aquatics at City Park.

Earlier this year, Parks and Recreation Director Dave Pike began looking for a firm to evaluate some of the issues affecting the pools. Within the next two weeks, Ohlson Lavoie representatives will spend a day assessing some concerns and appraising some expansion possibilities, Pike said.

The City Council budgeted $15,000 for the evaluation, but Ohlson Lavoie turned in a $10,600 estimate. The price could rise if the company finds need to come back for a second day.

"We're looking at some preventative maintenance stuff," Pike said. "We also want to see if some of these extra amenities are feasible and will they increase revenue for the park."

City Councilor Rod Compton, the council's Parks and Recreation liaison, described a two-pronged effort. First, the city needs to locate problem areas.

"The wave pool is 20 years old and starting to have major problems," Compton said. "If they're not addressed in the near future it just won't be useful anymore."

The floor at the wave pool is starting to erode, Compton said. In addition, pressure from ground water around the pool is starting to damage the walls.

When the pool is empty during regular maintenance in the spring, groundwater pressure cracks the walls and causes leaks, Pike explained. Ohlson Lavoie will look at the damage already done and test the ground for water concentration.

"Too much pressure can literally pop a pool out of the ground," Pike added. "Whether ground water is a real problem we won't know until we get some engineers in here."

The second prong, Compton said, is to look at renovating the entire pool area and making it more attractive and useful for the community.

The first thing the city plans to add is a concrete baffel - an underwater wall - to the wave pool. This wall would enable pool operators to get the most of the current wave controller.

Presently, the wave pool can only make "double diamond" waves. However, the wave controller is capable of making eight different kinds of waves, such as side-to-side and rolling waves, Pike said.

The city hopes to install the wave wall next summer.

Also, since the Moffat County School District has been considering allowing only students in the high school's competitive pool, there is a reasonable need for a year-round community lap pool, Pike said.

"We have the Sea Sharks, which is a popular thing in this town," Pike said. "Then there are lap swimmers and people that would use it for exercise. There is a need here for a competitive pool that's year-round."

There are multiple directions to proceed in, Pike said. The most discussed option from Compton and Pike has been to enclose the lane pool at City Park, thereby making it an indoor pool and usable in the winter.

Compton, for one, likes this option because it provides a community pool at a feasible cost, he said. Previously, the plan for a community recreation center included plans for a year-round lane pool.

The cost for a lane pool at the recreation center was about $6 million, and drove up the center's total cost to the point it was deemed unaffordable by taxpayers, Compton said.

Pike also plans to examine options for other amenities, such as some attractions seen at water parks, including water geysers and a children's wading pool.

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