The pool was built in 1967 and has been a favorite summer recreational venue for residents for many decades. The pool received some upgrades in 2016 that were mostly cosmetic, but much of the pool materials and equipment are as originally constructed. As such, the public pool is approaching its life span before major renovations would be required. This has led to an increase in repairs and higher maintenance costs.
The pool has maintained consistent revenue over the last five years and saw an increase in 2019. COVID-19 closed the pool in 2020. Rees said while attendance has been steady, there are recent trends across the nation that have impacted outdoor pools including schools opening in early August, difficulties hiring lifeguards along with gaming and online entertainment.
The largest expense for the Plymouth Pool is payroll, which comes out to about $43,000 annually. Other expenses include chemicals and utilities that are about $10,000 each for the season. The 2019 gross income for the pool was approximately $38,000. After expenses, the cost of running the pool facility was about $25,000.
Two concepts were presented to park board members. Concept “A” is a $4-$5 million project and provides a variety of new and exciting aquatic activities that appeals to families and children of all ages. A splash pad and zero-depth entry play pool appeal to younger children, while an obstacle course, slide, diving boards, climbing wall and zip-line offer play opportunities for older children. A 3-foot-deep pool can be used for swim lessons for younger children and used for activities such as water basketball and volleyball. In addition, the zip-line pool can be used for two lap lanes with the zip-line in not in use.
Concept “B” is estimated to be $2 to $2.5 million and this concept updates the recreational amenities at the aquatics facility to reflect recent trends to help attract more users while keeping operational costs low. The facility primarily targets families and younger or elementary school aged children with a splash pad and play pool. It also includes a 3-foot-deep pool that can be used for swim lessons for younger children that would not use the Bardwell Aquatic Center.
Estimated annual expenses for Concept A is $144,500 while the estimated annual expenses for Concept B is $78,500.
Park Board President, Dave Morrow said the city is trying to determine the future of the Dr. Susan Bardwell Aquatics Center. He went on to say, “The aquatic center is not set up for any real recreation indoors and in an area that’s not really accessible for city and kids. And also knowing this is our long-term play anyway. The outdoor pool is about 50 years old and is running its course.”
When asked about grant opportunities Reese said the project would qualify for the Land and Water Conservation Fund but the total grant amount is $500,000 with a $500,000 local match. He said they may raise the maximum amount to $1 million but it would be a 50/50 match.
The Plymouth Park Board took no action on the concepts presented.