OLD TOWN, Maine — The public pool next to the high school is in need of some serious work, and some say it should be closed. But before any decisions are made about its future, city leaders want to hear from residents.
A public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall to get public input on the 42-year-old Old Town Community Pool.
“It’s showing its age,” City Manager Peggy Daigle said this week. “There are some things that need to be taken care of.”
A city services review done last year recommended that the pool be shut down, since there are nearby pools at the Old Town-Orono YMCA and the University of Maine. After receiving the review, city leaders directed public works director John Rouleau Jr. to do his own review of the facility.
While doing the assessment of the pool, “I just happened to uncover a lot of things the naked eye might not see,” he said Wednesday. “It’s an aging facility and the mechanical systems are aging. There are areas of concern.”
Rouleau called in local electricians, plumbers, concrete restoration and mechanical experts, and a senior superintendent from South Shore Gunite Pools of Massachusetts to double-check his work and provide cost estimates to fix the problems.
The rough estimate is half a million dollars to renovate the pool and bring it up to current standards, he said.
“The task at hand now is to decide what is going to happen,” Rouleau said. “How long we should stay open, if we should renovate to give it a 10- to 15-year life, or look at a new facility” are questions that need to be answered.
“You can only patch for so long,” he said. “If nothing is done, it’s hard to tell how long it will last, but it’s operated at the same level for several years.”
The pool’s water quality is great, there is no imminent danger of a breakdown, and the pool should easily qualify for a new state license required under a law that goes into effect in September, Rouleau said.
The local YMCA helps to operate the Old Town Community Pool, which is home to the Y’s Canoe City Swim Club and Old Town High School’s swim teams.
“The pool is near and dear to many people in the city and has a long history,” Rouleau said. “The public hearing is really an opportunity for the public to speak pro or con” about the options.
Pictures that Rouleau has taken of the pool’s problems will be on display at the hearing.
“Pictures speak louder than words,” he said.