City will reopen Lions Pool this year, but doesn't know how many more years the facility has
FARMINGTON — Lions Pool first opened 65 years ago, and the City of Farmington says it is now inching toward the end of its life.
But the good news is that it will open this year when public health orders allow it.
This comes after a state inspection of the pool found that it can safely operate but will need upgrades in the future.
Lions Pool predominately caters to senior citizens who enjoy the warm water for therapeutic reasons. It is kept warmer than other pools in the area — about 89 degrees.
While Farmington plans to open the pool this year, City Manager Rob Mayes gave the caveat that a “catastrophic failure” could occur at any time that would lead to the pool closing permanently.
The Farmington City Council heard an update on Lions Pool during its meeting on June 23. A recording of the meeting can be viewed at fmtn.org.
Mayes said Lions Pool started as a flat, outdoor pool and was the first pool in Farmington. It was later converted to an indoor pool. The roof was built about 40 years ago and a locker room area was built 17 to 18 years ago.
If the pool does close, many of the programs the city offers for senior citizens at Lions Pool will be moved to the Farmington Aquatic Center, which does include a warmer section. However, the lap pool at the aquatic center is kept cooler to allow for competitive swimming.
The city has also spoken to Defined Fitness, which has a pool that is not quite as warm as Lions Pool but is warmer than the aquatic center’s lap pool. Mayor Nate Duckett mentioned that Defined Fitness has a program that allows seniors to use the pool for free. This is through the Silver Sneakers program, which allows eligible seniors who are 65 years old or older and have Medicare to access free memberships to participating gyms nationwide. Defined Fitness is one of the participating gyms in Farmington. Seniors can check their eligibility at silversneakers.com.
Tough decision on the horizon
Next year — or possibly sooner — the city will likely have to evaluate if it wants to spend $150,000 to $200,000 on upgrades at Lions Pool to extend its life, Mayes said.
"We are dealing with a pool that clearly is reaching the end of its life," he said.
Farmington will contract a study of the pool's condition to help make that determination.
Mayes recommended that the city meet with community members once the study has been completed to present the results.
The city is not yet able to reopen Lions Pool due to public health orders in place to prevent the spread of the cornonavirus. It is hoping that the state orders will change in July to allow pools — including Bisti Bay at Brookside Park — to reopen.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e