Tolleston, Borman Square repairs mean Gary should have three pools open next summer
BY MICHAEL GONZALEZ Post-Tribune correspondent September 6, 2013 12:34PM
Tolleston Park pool in Gary was closed last year but will reopen this year after about $30,000 in repairs. | Sun-Times Media File Photo
Updated: October 10, 2013 6:10AM
GARY — Swimmers here will have two more public pools available next year, but most city run pools still will not be open in 2014.
The Department of Parks and Recreation faces the same funding and compliance issues as the rest of the city’s pools, parks department director Lori Latham said Friday.
Latham said the city will again open Roosevelt Pool, 2200 Harrison, and it will reopen the Borman Square pool, on 8th and Madison, and the Tolleston pool, 15th and Ellsworth.
Opening the remaining five pools will take more time and more money.
The two biggest obstacles in opening the facilities are funding and a 2008 federal Virginia Graeme-Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, requiring all public pools to have updated drains. In the case of Gary’s public pools, that often meant replacing entire drainage systems, “which for us was very expensive and just not feasible at the time.”
Getting the three operational pools ready took large chunks out of a shrinking parks department budged. The department still is struggling with property tax caps and a low tax collection rate citywide.
The Borman Square pool needed $61,400 in repairs, including work on the concrete pool deck, while the Tolleston pool took almost $30,000.
Last year, the department spent $25,000 to prep the Roosevelt pool.
And, all of that money was needed before the first drops of water. Out of its $910,000 2014 budget, the parks department will spend $178,000 for lifeguards and $14,500 for pool chemicals and testing supplies.
Latham also will set aside an unknown amount for a contractor to handle pool maintenance.
The department this year got help from the Gary Sanitary District, which helped with some water testing, and donations, like $3,000 from Indiana-American Water.