Old-school pools to be demolished, replaced

Holly, Franklin, Harlow facilities have one more summer before modernization

Posted 4/1/19

After this summer, it will be time to say so long to South Suburban's old-school pools. Holly, Franklin and Harlow pools — three of the four outdoor pools in South Suburban Parks and Recreation …

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Old-school pools to be demolished, replaced

Holly, Franklin, Harlow facilities have one more summer before modernization

Posted

After this summer, it will be time to say so long to South Suburban's old-school pools.

Holly, Franklin and Harlow pools — three of the four outdoor pools in South Suburban Parks and Recreation District's roster — are slated to be rebuilt with modern versions this fall, and district officials say it's about time.

“They've done a good job, but they've run their course,” said Eileen Matheson, South Suburban's director of recreation.

An audit of the district's aquatic facilities found that the three pools, all built in the 1960s, don't meet the expectations of modern swimmers and are suffering from outdated equipment and backlogged maintenance, Matheson said.

The old pools were primarily designed for lap swimming and swim team events, according to an “Aquatics Master Plan” prepared for South Suburban by the Counsilman-Hunsaker consulting firm and ratified by the South Suburban Board of Directors last November.

“Older pools are no longer bringing in the swimmers,” according to the master plan. “They often sit empty while families drive an hour or more to the regional new water park to find recreation value; and they don't mind paying for it when they find it.”

Meanwhile, the report says, the three pools bear the signs of facilities at the end of their lifecycles: “leaking pool shells, inadequate filtration, current swimming pool code violations and outdated features.”

“We have issues every year,” Matheson said. “We can't do Band-Aids anymore. We found it would be cheaper to demolish them and start over. It would cost millions just to get to the pipes beneath the pools.”

The replacement pools will incorporate features geared toward the desires of a wide range of users, the report says.

Harlow Pool, at Lowell Boulevard and Belleview Avenue, will get a “sprayground” featuring bubblers, water cannons and geysers. It will also get a new water slide, but will keep three traditional lap lanes.

Franklin Pool, at Franklin Street and Panama Drive, will get a “tot pool” with a ramped entry and spray features, and the main pool will feature a rope swing, diving board and water slide. The pool will retain six lap lanes.

Holly Pool, at Holly Street and Arapahoe Road, will get a small “leisure pool” with a zero-depth entry, a “lazy river,” and a six-lane lap pool with a rope swing, diving board and water slide.

All told, the three projects are expected to cost about $10.5 million, according to the master plan.

The pools will remain open through the summer of 2019, Matheson said, with the new pools expected to open in time for Memorial Day 2020.

South Suburban board member Susan Pye called the project a good idea.

“I absolutely think it's necessary,” Pye said. “These pools are in really bad condition, and we did a lot of community outreach. I feel confident we captured what people wanted, and can achieve that in a fiscally responsible way.”

The board plans to finalize the plans in May, Pye said.

Pye said swimmers have more options now than they did in the 1960s, including apartment complex pools, HOA-provided facilities, and regional draws like Englewood's Pirate's Cove water park, but said the old neighborhood pools still mean a lot to a community.

“Kids learn to swim, families get to go on outings and spend time outdoors, and young people can compete on swim teams,” Pye said. “There's nothing that's not good about these places. We just need to keep them up to date and in good order.”

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