Public Officials & Residents Discuss the Fate of Memorial Pool

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By: Brendan McDonough

Reporter for North Tonawanda

Built in 1947, it is no secret that Memorial Pool in North Tonawnada is in dire need of repairs. This notion was reinforced after a Cleveland based architecture-engineer firm conducted a feasibility study on the pool.

This past week Nancy Nozik presented her findings to the Common Council as well as residents.

“If we were going to really repair this facility to make sure that it lasts another ten to twenty years,” said Nozik. “there is a lot that needs to be done now.”

She says there are some concrete repairs that need to be made with the existing pool. Once such example is the locker rooms where wholesale improvements need to be made to flooring and replacing the existing lockers.

According to the feasibility study, the last pool liner was put in the pool in the 1980’s. As you can imagine, the engineering firm recommended this be updated as well.

“To really repair this we would recommend new pool walls, a new gutter system, and an entire new concrete deck,” said Nozik. “The majority of that concrete deck is original from 1947 and has a lot of problem areas.”

 

 

The feasibility study also pointed to the current guardrail needing to be replaced as it does not meet current safety codes.

The pool is currently operating at a loss of about $75,000 a year. To bring the pool up to code and fix all of the recommended repairs, Nozik says the cost would be somewhere between $2 and $2.5 million.

On the other hand, Nozik says building a new pool would cost somewhere between $6 and $6.5 million.

Nozik further said that it would be years before the City saw any profit from the pool if they did a wholesale replacement. In fact, it would be nearly impossible to say just how long that would be.

“Some years you will make money and some years you won’t,” said Nozik, “but in an average year it will be closer to breaking even than anything else. Our goal is break even and not be burden to the community.”

One idea that has gained momentum is adding a concession stand. The feasibility study found that such an addition would help offset some of those costs and bring in much needed revenue. It’s something the current pool does not have.

“When we anticipate revenue, concessions are included in that,” said Nozik. “Concessions become part of the revenue that help offset the cost of operating the facility and it helps keep people there longer during the day.”

 

 

Another suggestion to bring in money was to have the Memorial Pool open seven days a week.

No decisions have been made with the pool and Nozik noted that they are only about half way through the feasibility study.

In her findings, about half of the community wants to keep the current pool while other want a new pool. There was also 19% of people in the survey who want a combination of the two.

The Common Council will continue to have future discussions on the fate of the Memorial Pool in the coming weeks.

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