By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
This summer may be the last for the city’s struggling swimming pool, which needs dire repairs and hasn’t had much renovation done to it since it opened nearly 60 years ago.
But fear not; Portales city councilors said they know the pool is a summer staple and they are planning to build another pool and possibly additional recreational water facilities for Portales.
Councilors are taking suggestions from the city’s Public Works Director John DeSha in scrapping the old pool and starting with a new one after a tour of the facility Tuesday night.
“If we’re going to continue to have (a swimming pool), we really need to talk about replacement,” DeSha told the councilors. “We’ve gotten 60 years out of it, it’s just time to upgrade.”
One of the major needs for a new pool is the 60,000 gallons of water a day the current pool is leaking when it’s open. Though DeSha says he is not sure what’s causing the leak, he believes the pool’s age is a factor and it isn’t productive for councilors to continue repairing it each year.
Councilors noted they saw the irony in asking residents to conserve water when the city was losing that much from the pool, so they want to make sure the leak is fixed.
DeSha suggested councilors make repairs to the pool so that it can at least function for this summer while simultaneously discussing the design for a new facility.
“We need to look at the long-run, we need to be working on the design phase,” added Portales City Manager Doug Redmond.
Any major funding plans for a new pool would be requested in the city’s capital improvements projects list.
A few new ideas for a pool the councilors had included larger water slides, a wave pool, a “lazy river” and possibly adding a splash pad to Rotary Park. Because councilors haven’t agreed on what they want for a new facility, the cost of the project is unknown.
DeSha added that the city does currently operate the pool at a loss because it is only open for 10 to 12 weeks a year, and the reason for that is staffing.
But he and the councilors agreed a pool is necessary for the city.
“The concept of a pool isn’t to make money, it’s to provide recreation,” said Councilor Oscar Robinson.