Residents air concerns on possible pool closure
FARMINGTON — Members of the community voiced their concerns about the possible closure of the aging pool at Brookside Park during a meeting on Monday evening at the Farmington Civic Center.
About 45 people attended a presentation by city of Farmington officials to hear about the issues the pool faces. Officials also used the meeting to gather input from the community about the city's preliminary ideas on how to replace the pool if it closed permanently.
The Farmington City Council will vote at its meeting Tuesday on whether to open the nearly 640,000-gallon pool this summer. The pool requires repairs to address health and safety concerns, said Cory Styron, director of the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs department.
Members of the audience asked questions about what work would be involved if the city were to open the pool this summer, whether the pool could remain open as the city designed and developed a new aquatic facility and how the closure would affect residents.
Before the meeting, Farmington resident Joan Watkins said closing the pool would impact children in the community.
“There are a lot of kids who walk and bike to the pool during the summer time,” Watkins said.
During the meeting, Styron said the $123,000 needed to fix the pool’s filtration system would not necessarily guarantee the structure, built in 1958, would pass a safety inspection by the New Mexico Environment Department.
Pool staff have had trouble meeting requirements to properly filter and treat the pool water in the time required by the state environment department.
Styron also said he was unsure whether the filter system repairs would be enough to meet the state requirements to bring the entire pool up to current standards. That, he said, could cost more than $1.1 million.
City Councilor Sean Sharer, who attended Monday's meeting, said the council faces a difficult decision about whether to open the pool this year. But, he said, he would not allow his own daughter to use the pool in its current state because of health concerns.
While discussing what could possibly replace the pool, Styron showed images of outdoor water parks that other cities have installed.
Farmington resident James Dennis said his daughter, Alexandria, has used the pool since she was a child. And, he said, the community needs an outdoor water facility.
“I think it would be a great asset to all the kids,” Dennis said. “I think it will draw people into town.”
Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.