Metropolis pool on track to open July 1 - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Metropolis pool on track to open July 1

"The pool is on track to open July 1st."  --Pris Abell (Source: Loreto Cruz KFVS) "The pool is on track to open July 1st." --Pris Abell (Source: Loreto Cruz KFVS)
(Source: Loreto Cruz KFVS) (Source: Loreto Cruz KFVS)
"There were holes in the wall, [of the old bath house,] and it was really run down" Metropolis Lifegaurd Shelby Beggs (Source: Loreto Cruz KFVS) "There were holes in the wall, [of the old bath house,] and it was really run down" Metropolis Lifegaurd Shelby Beggs (Source: Loreto Cruz KFVS)
METROPOLIS, IL (KFVS) - Metropolis, Illinois workers are nearing completion of renovations on the city's public pool, despite being $331,000 in the hole

Metropolis Parks and Recreation Director Pris Abell said the delay is frustrating for workers and residents.

"A day's work, and four days' wait. It seems like," she said.

Abell said her department has been trying to get their hands on an Illinois Department of Natural Resources grant that would fund the renovation of the city pool's facilities for the past several years. In late 2014, they were approved by the state, and began construction.

They immediately demolished the bathhouse on the pool grounds, which was in dire need of repair, according to lifeguard Shelby Beggs

“There were holes in the wall, and it was really run down,” Beggs said. “People who came to the pool couldn't even see what they were doing in there.”

Abell added the old facilities were not handicap accessible.

Roughly six months in to construction, state-wide budget cuts were made that included funds for the pool.

“They were at 65 percent completion when we learned we weren't getting the grant… I was very concerned that meant at that point we were done, and were going to leave it as it was.” Abell said.

The city had already set aside the money for the entire project out of the Metropolis general fund, (which is the source of cash for most civic improvements,) and were planning to get reimbursed by the state.

Pool employees say they're glad city leaders made the choice to keep the pool open.

"It's a crime deterrent,” said Pool Manager Dylan Glidden. “If all of these kids aren't here, they're going to be out on the streets doing something else."

"This is the one pool within 50 miles in the state of Illinois that teaches swim lessons, and has water aerobics,” he said.

The city doesn't earn any money from the pool. In fact, in order for them to turn a profit, they would need to charge upwards of five times the current entry fee for residents.

“Just giving our kids something constructive to do should make this a worthwhile investment." Abell said, "This kind of thing is an important public service.”

Glidden said his guard staff is one example of the impact.

“These guys and girls out here rely on this,” Glidden said. “Whether they're just out of high school, or looking for a summer job, they're out here. And even though the pool's closed, they're still seeing some action!”

The guard staff has spent much of their time in recent weeks making improvements to the pool such as preparing the pool floor for new paint, and power washing surfaces.

Abell said construction nearing completion, and they expect to hold a grand opening just before Independence Day weekend.

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