News - June 29, 2011

Belle Haven diving boards closed for summer

• Pool opening delayed.

by Sandy Brundage

Cries of "Cannonball!" won't resound at the Belle Haven pool this summer — rusting around platform bolts led the city to close both diving boards for the season. The $40,000 needed for repairs won't be available until next year, according to a memo from Community Services Director Cherise Brandell to the Parks and Recreation Commission.

The memo said "major rusting of the original diving board platforms has been discovered" and that repairs would be included with the next fiscal year's capital improvement project to replace the heater and boiler.

Ms. Brandell told the Almanac that the boards dated back to the 1970s. "The engineer who looked at the boards felt that they could still be safely used for years to come but we needed to make a decision immediately about whether or not to repair or replace them while we had the deck open," she said. "The time needed to remove the boards and repair or replace them as a part of this summer's project would have essentially kept the pool closed all summer."

So the city opted to wait until it can replace the platforms, thereby extending the usefulness of the boards another 40 years instead of a short-term fix, Ms. Brandell explained.

Tim Sheeper, whose company won the contract to operate both of the city's pool facilities in March, said other restorations are almost finished. "We plan to open Belle Haven on Monday, July 11, through Sunday, August 21," he said.

The city's restorations delayed the pool opening, giving residents roughly a month-and-a-half to enjoy the pool this year instead of the three months expected by Mr. Sheeper's contract.

In preparation for opening day, Mr. Sheeper estimated hiring six swim instructors, six lifeguards, four administrative personnel, and one maintenance staffer, but indicated that could change depending on community demand.

Since the city budgeted for repairs such as renewing the pool deck and 20-year-old fiberglass liner in its capital improvement plan, according to staff, Mr. Sheeper isn't responsible for covering the costs. If he chooses to make other improvements worth $200,000 total within the first four years of his contract, with the city's consent, he gets an automatic five-year extension on the contract.


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