KEYSER - The Keyser City Council has called a special meeting for 6 p.m. this evening to take the official vote to open the John R. Shelton Swimming Pool for three weeks this summer.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The Keyser City Council has called a special meeting for 6 p.m. this evening to take the official vote to open the John R. Shelton Swimming Pool for three weeks this summer.
The proposal was brought up during the July 11 meeting by council member Willian Zacot, who had earlier in the meeting been appointed as parks and recreation commissioner for the city.
“I’d like to try moving forward with opening the pool for at least three weeks,” Zacot said, noting that he had already spoken with the Mineral County Health Department about what would be needed to get the pool filled and open to the public.
Earlier this year, before Zacot and mayor Damon Tillman took office, the council had voted to not open the pool due to the cost of operating the facility.
“I know we’re not going to make money,” Zacot said July 11, “but the pool’s not there to make money.”
Zacot also noted that he has some people who told him they would be wiling to help get the pool open and running, and added that some of the past lifeguards who still hold their certifications would be willing to help as well.
Water distribution supervisor Teddy Nester, who was licensed to handle the chemicals needed to operate the pool, told the officials that he had not renewed his license since the council had decided not to open the pool in 2018, but it should be fairly easy to get that paperwork completed.
The officials said one of the things they fear if the pool is not opened this summer is that the city will lose the status of being “grandfathered” out of certain state requirements that they currently do not meet.
“If we don’t open the pool for for even one day this year, it will probably never open again,” Tillman said.
Because the opening of the pool was not on the agenda for the July 11 meeting, however, the officials could not take a vote on the matter.
Assuming the issue would be placed on the agenda for the July 25 meeting, Nester asked the officials if he could go ahead and start getting the pool ready to open.
“I probably have enough chemicals for two weeks,” he said. “If you have to buy another week’s worth, you’re probably looking at $500-$1,000.”
Both Karol Ashenfelter, who was still on the council at the time of the discussion, and Brenda Kitzmiller, who was seated in the audience, spoke out against opening the pool.
“You’re throwing good  money after bad,” Kitzmiller said, noting that the high cost of operating the pool is a result of the city having to pay for the water, and the pool not being designed to circulate the water.
“There’s a lot of money being wasted,” she said.
Since the July 11 meeting, city crews have been working at the pool to get it ready.
Tillman said tonight’s special meeting was called so they could go ahead and vote on opening the pool.
In addition, several other items are on the agenda, including a new K-9 officer for the Keyser Police Department, a change in meeting times for the council, and the appointment of a new council member to replace Ashenfelter, who was ousted by a 4-0 vote at the end of the July 11 meeting.
The meeting gets underway at 6 p.m. in the council chambers.