By Ashley M. Casey
Fultonians will have to find a new place to cool off this summer — the East Side pool will be closed.
The City of Fulton’s Parks and Recreation Superintendent Barry Ostrander said the pool, located at Rowlee Beach Park on South 12th Street, is in “extreme disrepair.”
“Extensive repairs are needed to keep it open. It’s reached a limit where we can no longer do in-house repairs,” Ostrander said.
In August 2013, the city applied for New York state’s “highly competitive” Empire Environmental Protection Fund grant to cover half the pool’s repair costs, but was rejected, Ostrander said.
“One of the primary reasons we didn’t get it was the study we supplied … was outdated,” Ostrander said.
In 2005, the engineering study suggested repairs to the pool, its filtration system and bath house totaling $227,000.
“(The city) decided not to go through with repairs at that time,” Ostrander said.
At its Feb. 18 meeting, the Common Council tabled a resolution proposing an engineering study of the pool’s needs by Barton & Loguidice.
“The thought process was three councilmen said they were not willing to bond (the project),” said Mayor Ronald L. Woodward Sr. “I think we should have the study. Then we could apply for grants. But I understand they’re concerned about the budget — and they should be.”
Woodward said First Ward Councilor Tom Kenyon, Third Ward Councilor Ryan Raponi and Fourth Ward Councilor Jim Myers were the three councilors who opposed bonding the pool project.
“I’m only opposed to it at this time because I didn’t see the need to spend $4,600 on a study for something that we can’t afford to fix anyway,” Myers said.
Both Ostrander and Myers said the city may look into a grant that could cover a portion of the engineering study’s cost.
Either way, the pool will still be closed this summer.
Ostrander said if the city were to apply for a grant to cover the study, “that would be another year removed from (possibly receiving) a big grant for the pool.”
Kenyon said the War Memorial gymnasium floor was well-used and so he supported a similar engineering study for that, but the pool is another matter.
“When I was a kid, I was told ‘no’ sometimes. If we have to be without a pool for a year, so be it,” Kenyon said. He also advocated saving “every penny we can” to fix the city’s roads after a rough winter.
“I’d wait until the state (Financial Restructuring Board) comes in to see what they do,” he added.
At the Feb. 25 school board meeting, Fulton City School District Superintendent Bill Lynch said Second Ward Councilor and Common Council President Dan Knopp had called him to ask if Granby Elementary’s pool would be available for community use this summer.
Lynch said many BOCES special education classes use the Granby pool during the summer, so he could not give Knopp an answer about the pool’s availability.
“We have a lot of issues … if there was available time,” Lynch told the board, citing staff and supervision as two key issues.
“We’re already offering more special ed at Granby this year because of (renovations) at Volney and (asbestos) abatement at Lanigan,” Lynch said. “That’s a heavy load for Granby to be shouldering.”
Lynch said the district could not offer transportation for community members to use the pool either.
The Granby pool already offers limited community use in the early morning and for an hour in the afternoon.
School board member Christine Plath, a former Mexico teacher, expressed concern about the idea of opening Granby to the city.
“It was a disaster when Mexico had a community pool,” she said.