KEYSER - It's official - the John R. Shelton Swimming Pool will be open for three weeks this summer.
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - It’s official - the John R. Shelton Swimming Pool will be open for three weeks this summer.
City crews, along with newly-appointed parks and recreation commissioner William Zacot, have been working since the July 11 council meeting to prepare the pool for opening.
Although it was pretty much a consensus of the council at that meeting that they wanted to open the pool, they couldn’t take the official vote until it was placed on the agenda for this week’s special meeting.
“I spent pretty much my entire vacation out there helping the guys get things ready,” Zacot said Thursday, adding that the pool “has now been painted and water is being put in it.”
Zacot also said he’s been working with water distribution supervisor Teddy Nester to estimate the cost of operating the pool for three weeks, and “we’re estimating it at approximately $24,000.”
Zacot said they have already got five lifeguards on board, who will work staggered shifts to help keep costs down.
“The Save the Pool Committee is going to pay half on the lifeguards,” he added.
Mayor Damon Tillman thanked the Mineral County Health Department for working with the city to get the pool up and running on short notice.
“They have been amazing,” he said.
Tillman also assured the crowd present for the special meeting that the officials are continuing to seek grants for the renovation or rebuild of the pool.
“There are several grants available for pools … we’re going to exhaust every avenue possible to get a pool back for our community,” he said.
“I want the people to know we are going to try to give something back to the community for our youth.”
When council member Jennifer Junkins asked where the $24,000 to operate the pool would come from, council member Terry Liller said, “If everything else fails, we’ve got the pool fund.”
Junkins emphasized, however, that she did not want to use the money that has been set aside for a new pool.
When Liller made a motion to open the pool for three weeks, and Zacot seconded it, Junkins voted against it, but clarified her reasoning:
“I’d like to see it open just like everyone else,” she said, “but I don’t like to vote on it till I know where the money is coming from.”
“I’m against using that fund too,” newly-appointed finance commissioner Mike Ryan said, adding that “there will be no money taken out of any other account.”
Ryan went on to say the money was available in the carry-over funds from the 2017-2018 budget.
“We’re not going to touch the (pool) fund,” interim city administrator Buck Eagle agreed.
“But we’re going to make this happen. We’ve got to do this for the kids,” he said.
No date has yet been announced for opening the pool.