County eyes repairs and upgrades to Kennedy pool, at urging of Trakas

Kennedy pool is older and not as popular as Lemay

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The pool at the Kennedy Recreation Center.

By Gloria Lloyd, News Editor

Repairs are being made to the Kennedy Recreation Complex’s pool in time to open for the summer, and the county is considering upgrades after Councilman Ernie Trakas urged the county parks department not to close the pool as a budget cut.

The Kennedy pool was closed last year for repairs and never reopened for the season. Closing the outdoor pool permanently and avoiding the $40,000 fix to reopen it would save a total $50,000 once revenues were deducted from the overall $100,000 savings, Parks Director Tom Ott told the County Council at a budget hearing in November.

The pool is older, has not been updated and is not as popular as the pool at The Pavilion at Lemay, so it was included among a slate of possible budget cuts for 2021, Ott said.

When Ott said that avoiding the $40,000 in repairs could be a cost-saving move, Trakas said, “So you’re going to save $30,000 at the expense of South County residents out of a $30 million budget? Is that what you’re proposing?”

“That is one item we are looking at, I did not say that we would necessarily have to do that,” Ott said. “It’s an item we are looking at as a cost-saving measure going forward being that that’s a 45-year-old facility and a flatwater pool, it does not get as much attendance as the pool at The Pavilion at Lemay. That’s something that we may want to look at. I’m more than happy to have a discussion with you about that.”

The cost to add a new pool at the North County Recreation Center was $4 million, Ott noted.

“I would suggest that you look elsewhere for savings,” Trakas said. “I’m not going to sit by and watch you close that pool to save $30,000, lose $50,000 in revenue when the budget you’re proposing is $31 million.”

The repairs were added back into the 2021 budget before passage in December, and the pool is set to reopen on Memorial Day weekend as normal, a parks department spokeswoman confirmed to The Call.

“The repairs are a fix to a very old pool,” spokeswoman Molly Olten said in an email. “We hope to find funding to completely renovate or replace the Kennedy pool in the near future so that we can keep serving the residents of south county for years to come.”

In an email, Trakas told The Call he will continue to push for renovations to both the pool and Kennedy Recreation Complex overall.

“When the idea of closing the pool was suggested by Tom Ott during the budget review process last year, I voiced my strenuous objection,” Trakas said. “I also made plain my intent to see the pool and other segments of the park and recreation center updated and renovated. I intend to continue that pursuit.”