Council approves plan to open lake to swimming

Officials say Brookside Pool will not open Memorial Day weekend and may not open this year

Hannah Grover
Keeyian Hungary, left, and Raheem Benally splash in the Brookside Pool on Aug. 29, 2015n.

FARMINGTON – The City Council unanimously approved a plan on Tuesday to open Farmington Lake for swimming this summer in light of the city possibly having to close the Brookside Pool.

The proposed plan calls for opening a portion of Farmington Lake to swimming and having it monitored by lifeguards.

The council has asked the city staff for additional information to determine whether the ailing Brookside Pool can be repaired and operated for a few more seasons while the city prepares a plan and secures funding for a replacement facility.

Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department Director Cory Styron told councilors that even if they approve repairing the pool to make it operational, it would not be able to open on Memorial Day, its traditional opening day. Styron said the repairs will take three to four months, and the earliest the pool could open would be the middle of July.

The Brookside Pool closes after Labor Day weekend, which would mean the pool would be open less than two months this year if it is able to open at all. The repairs needed to get the pool open are estimated to cost at least $123,000.

Councilor Sean Sharer said some of the main concerns he has heard from the public, including those aired at a community meeting Monday night, include affordability, location and a timeline for replacing the Brookside Pool.

While Farmington Lake is located outside of neighborhoods and is not easily accessible to pedestrians, Styron said he has spoken to Red Apple Transit about adding a summer bus stop at the lake.

The council will decide at a later date whether to do repairs to keep the pool open for a few more seasons or to close the pool for good and build a new facility in its place.

Mayor Tommy Roberts said during the council meeting Tuesday that the repairs are only temporary fixes. Eventually, the pool will have to be renovated or replaced.

A complete renovation of the pool is estimated to cost more than $1 million, and that does not include replacing the pool liner to address a leak causing a loss of about one million gallons of water a year. The new liner is estimated to cost about $100,000. More than $310,000 would be needed to bring the pool up to Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, including renovating locker rooms and increasing access. Another $350,000 would be needed to install a surge gutter system.

"The big unknown is how much cast iron piping is still left in the ground and the condition of it," Styron said.

He said the department is looking at scoping the pipes to determine their condition.

Councilor Linda Rodgers urged the department to do further investigation to determine the pipes' conditions.

"I think it's worth the money and time to see what we're dealing with," she said.

Farmington resident Sarah Walker urged the council to repair the pool to make it operational. She expressed fears that closing the pool temporarily could lead to it never reopening.

“We have learned in the past that temporary closures in government mean permanent,” she said.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.