More than 30 concerned Newcomerstown village residents attended last Monday's Village Council in hopes that questions concerning the future of Cy Young Park and the Cy Young Pool would be answered.
Instead, those in attendance heard the results of a recent assessment conducted at the pool.
Councilman Dave Hickman said some major repairs and additions need to be added to make the pool "up to code" for the start of the pool season.
He said a pool inspector said the Cy Young Pool needs to have two lift chairs installed (which it has none) to be in accordance with the federal law regarding the American's with Disabilities Act. Two lift chairs are needed because of the size of the pool. Any pool over 300 linear feet must have more than one lift chair. The Cy Young Pool is 323 linear feet.
The lift chairs are approximately $6,000 each installed.
Next, the pool needs five filter boxes replaced, electricity needs sealed and updated, and a commercial automatic chemical control (or chlorinator) needs installed.
Councilman Hickman said the wrong chemical set-up is regulating the pool. He said the chlorinator is for a residential pool, not a commercial pool.
"So you are really not killing all the bacteria in the pool," he said.
All those repairs and improvements needed at the pool total some $40,000 to $50,000.
Because of that, Hickman said he doesn't see the pool opening this season.
"I seriously doubt that the pool will be open for Memorial Day weekend," Hickman said. "I'm not a huge fan of not opening the pool but I'm not a huge fan of temporarily fixing the problem."
If one chair lift and the chlorinator was installed this year, it would cost approximately $20,000. If those were installed and a permit (for the lift was obtained), the pool could possibly be open for the summer season.
However, the blame as to what the now-defunct Recreation Board knew about the condition of the pool was discussed. Council blamed those five volunteers -- who occupied seats on the board -- that estimates to have these issues resolved were known some four years ago and nothing was done.
Recreation Board President Greg Bowman said he has never seen any estimates for repairs needed at the pool. He said his tenure on the board only began two years ago but said they were applying for grants to have a lift chair installed. But, they were denied.
But, in terms of the chlorinator, he said the Tuscarawas County Health Department makes regular checks on the pool and the chlorine levels were all within the normal range for safe swimming. He said the pool staff also checks the levels two to three times each day.
"The pool is the focal point of the park," Bowman said. "It's the money-maker."
Bowman presented council with the revenues and expenses from the past two years. He said the Recreation Board did make some mistakes along the way but managed the park well and was under budget in 2011. They were even awarded grants for water drinking fountains, court resurfacing, etc.
He said not one councilman has ever came to a Recreation Board meeting and they have never asked for the board's opinion on any issue. Instead, council just makes decisions without any consultation.
Bowman reminded council that he was even present at the last council meeting where the Recreation Board was repealed. However, he left prior to the announcement.
At any time, council could have questioned Bowman about finances or the pool's safety but that was not done.
Bowman asked Mayor Jim Friel if each councilman was asked to resign since the State Auditor came in and declared the village in fiscal emergency. He said that's what happened to the Recreation Board. However, they weren't asked to resign, they were just eliminated.
"I can't understand how we were not given the same courtesy," Bowman said about talking to the Recreation Board before repealing it.
Those sentiments gained Bowman a round of applause from those in attendance.
More members of the audience spoke out about the pool's importance in the community, especially for the youth and for those that take the adult aerobics classes in the morning.
Council said they will be getting more estimates from other pool companies to have the needed items repaired.
Until then, pool is not scheduled to open this year.
Council will meet again Monday, May 6 at 7 p.m. at the David Barber Civic Center, Newcomerstown.
The meetings are open to the public.