The Mattocks Park pool won’t be ready for its traditional Memorial Day opening, but the pool may open before summer is over.
At a regular meeting on May 25, the El Dorado Parks and Playgrounds Commission discussed the pool’s fate for the 2021 season.
Robert Edmonds, director of public works, told commissioners he plans to ask El Dorado city council to commit $ 40,000 to cover the costs of opening and operating the pool this summer, possibly in time for independence day.
The Edmonds and Parks and Playgrounds commissioners noted the city was operating from its 2020 budget as local accounting firm Emrich and Scroggins struggled to sort the city’s financial statements and reconcile bank statements of 2020 and of the year to date for 2021.
The company is said to have completed work for 2020 and started in 2021.
As a result, several urban projects have been put on hold until finances are cleared and a 2021 municipal budget approved.
However, Edmonds pointed out that the Mattocks swimming pool was closed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19); thus, the money planned for the pool in 2020 is still available.
City officials and EPPC said the pool’s annual running costs are around $ 30,000, which includes the salaries of three lifeguards.
Edmonds said about $ 15,000 would be needed this year for short-term repairs and maintenance to bring the pool into compliance with state health codes.
The work includes plumbing repairs for the pool house bathrooms and the pool mechanical system, cleaning, pressure washing and repair of the lifeguard stand.
Commissioner Alexis Alexander also reminded Edmonds that two handrails must be installed at the shallow end of the pool.
Several of the issues were identified by inspectors from the Arkansas Department of Health, who took a quick look at the facility in March.
The EPPC is in the process of fine-tuning a comprehensive city parks improvement plan and larger improvements and repairs to the Mattocks swimming pool and pool house are included in the draft plan, Alexander said.
Commissioners are working to gather cost estimates, quotes and other information in order to submit another funding request to the El Dorado Public Works Committee, which administers the city’s one-cent sales tax. for economic development, municipal infrastructure and quality of life projects.
EWB has contacted ISF twice in the past five months with proposals and each time EWB members have requested more specific details including which park EPPC hopes to start with, number of parks included in the plan, a schedule for the completion of the improvement project, how to purchase equipment, etc.
The commissioners are also working to schedule an inspection of the Mattocks pool and its mechanical system to assess the necessary repairs and determine if it would be more economically feasible to repair the existing pool, modify the installation by reducing the size of the pool. the swimming pool and add a water feature for small children and non-swimmers or build a new swimming pool and a pool house.
Ken Goudy, president of the EPPC, said commissioners had been in talks with a central Arkansas pool company to inspect the pool, but the company had not made a date.
“We can’t bring the company down from Little Rock and they came highly recommended,” Alexander said.
Goudy said he contacted other pool companies in the area and had not been very lucky.
“We have received other recommendations, but no one is interested in public swimming pools. Even in Louisiana, they say they’re not allowed in Arkansas and they don’t want to come to Arkansas, ”Goudy said.
City council member Willie McGhee asked if the commissioners had checked with other cities with public swimming pools and water parks, such as Camden and Arkadelphia.
Commissioners said they hope to at least have the Mattocks pool operational by the end of the summer.
“I prefer to go ahead and open up to give the kids something to do,” Alexander said.
Commissioner David Hurst inquired about the rescuers and asked when the city should start the hiring process.
Commissioner Karen Hicks said the EPPC should work with Rev. Ray Johnson, the former city sanitation supervisor who oversees the management of the Mattocks pool, on the matter.
McGhee also suggested the group contact the HealthWorks Fitness Center, which operates an indoor pool.
Goudy and Alexander said they need to contact Cole Kitchens, Pool Program Specialist for the Arkansas Department of Health, to schedule a pool inspection for a summer opening.
Kitchens and Donna Johnson, environmental health specialist for ADH, visited the facility in March.
Rucks asked if LanXess will provide the chemicals needed to run the Mattocks pool this year.
For several years, the specialty chemicals company, formerly known as Great Lakes, has partnered with the city to help maintain and operate the pool.
The company donated pool chemicals, patio furniture, and other items, and hosted events, including pizza, at the pool.
“It’s not in their budget this year,” Goudy said in response to Rucks’ question on chemicals. “They didn’t do it last year because the pool was closed so they didn’t include it in this year’s budget.”
The Mattocks Pool opened in the early 1950s and is the only public swimming pool in town. Free entry.
Mattocks Park is also the only park in town with a fishing pond.
The pond is part of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Family and Community Fishing Program.
The AGFC supplies the pond with catfish, sea bream and sea bass and regulates its use. The pond was last stocked with catfish on May 14.
The pond must be used by children 15 years and under and adults 65 years and older or disabled, in accordance with the regulations of the AGFC.
People aged 16 to 64 can help and fish with qualifying users who are actively fishing.
For more information on pond regulations, visit www.afgc.com/en/zone-map/fishing-map/672/ or call 1-800-364-4263.