UPDATE: City votes to close Memorial Pool, residents disappointed
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — For the first summer in 78 years, people won’t be swimming at Memorial Pool in La Crosse.
The city council voted to keep the old, leaky pool closed this summer, to the disappointment of many residents.
The closure will allow time to study the pool and its problems to determine if La Crosse should stick more money into repairs or possibly build a new pool entirely.
Neighbors in the Grandview-Emerson neighborhood, where the pool is located, have been asking for it to remain open, but feel that last night’s decision is still a step in the right direction.
Memorial Pool is the oldest pool in the La Crosse.
At 78 years old, it’s old and out dated, leaking an estimated 7,500 gallons a day when full.
“The general life span for a pool, if it goes over 50 years is quite an accomplishment. So for the fact that we got an extra life out of it, I think, really speaks to how much effort was actually put into reevaluating the pool,” city council member Ryan Cornett said.
With the pool now closed for 2016, the city will re-evaluate its condition and options for the future. Those who have fought to keep the pool open are OK with that, for now.
“At the beginning, we started by saying we were going to sell this pool, and now we’re saying something different,” Jacob Schimmas of the Grandview-Emerson Neighborhood Association said.
However, those who live near the pool say they’re disappointed the whole process of closing the pool happened so quickly.
“I really think that there are so many things that could have been done, that could have been done sooner, and could have been brought to our attention a lot sooner than just waiting (until) two months ago when we started hearing closing the pool. Within in two months, that’s too quick for a pool that’s been around for 78 years,” GENA member Chau Ngyuen said.
The neighborhood hopes for more communication between the city and those in favor of keeping the pool, now during this re-evaluation process.
“We don’t dispute it’s a really old pool and it’s been allowed to deteriorate, but I don’t believe that you just have to abandon things when they get old and let them decay,” GENA member Kate Escher said.
Funding for the study of the pool will come out the La Crosse Park and Recreation budget. Money that was originally set aside to operate the pool this summer.
During the study, the city will be looking to keep Memorial Pool in its current location instead of moving it. The city will decide between fixing the pool or building new.
The neighborhood association likes that idea, but thinks a renovation would be a better idea than a brand new pool.