Some Lodi City Council members are frustrated with the amount of money being spent to repair the pool at Hutchins Street Square. The council unanimously approved a contract to upgrade the pool’s 25-year-old filtration system at its Wednesday night meeting, but not before asking if it was time to replace the entire thing.
“The pool at Hutchins Street Square appears to me to just have continual problems,” Councilman Bob Johnson said. “Continual and expensive problems.”
The contract approved Wednesday night allocated $90,000 in funds to improve the filtration system’s reliability and reduce energy and chemical usage.
Of the funds allocated for the project, $84,200 was awarded to the West Sacramento-based Pool Scene, Inc.
Jeff Hood, the city’s director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, said work is expected to begin in late March or early April. He added that the pool will be closed for just two weeks while repairs are made.
According to Wednesday’s staff report, the project includes removing and disposing of the current sanitation system as well as installing a new ultra-violet dechloramination and disinfection system.
Additionally, a new filter, chlorine feed, pH buffering system, water chemistry controller and flow meter will be installed.
Johnson said the costs to repair the pool have been endless, stating that after this $90,000 project is done, the city intends to replace a boiler at the pool for another $25,000.
“The costs just go on and on,” he said. “I don’t know if this thing is a black hole, and I know it’s appreciated by the seniors in our community. But I would like in the very near future a fairly extensive report on where we are, where we’re going and what we think the costs will be.”
Johnson was also concerned with the amount of time it took to get this latest repair project started.
He said the plans were originally laid out in Aug. 2013, and it took the city four months to announce bids. Now, he said the city has to wait until March or even April for work to start.
Johnson asked if the pool had “burnt out” to the point where the city cannot afford to keep it.
Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce asked staff what it would cost to replace the entire pool, rather than simply repairing it as needed.
Hood said Thursday the pool was reconstructed when the senior wing was built at Hutchins Street Square. He added there is no estimate for how much an entirely new pool would cost.
He said that other recent improvements to the pool have included replacing the lining in July, which cost about $50,000.
Mounce also compared the pool to the Grape Bowl, calling the latter another black hole for which the city has spent much time and money on repairs.
In 2010, the city accepted $1 million from Waste Management to help pay for repairs on the more than 70-year-old stadium.
Those repairs included installation of an all-weather field turf, new restrooms and a new concession stand as well as improved accessibility for disabled patrons.
“The Grape Bowl has certainly been one of those things, and we’ve invested millions into that,” she said. “So, if we can do that for our youth, we can certainly do that for our seniors.”
Hood said staff will return to council at a future meeting with a report on how much the city plans to spend on pool repairs.