Pool to open under new management
City Administrator Larry Paine is gladly giving up his job as a manager of the city pool. The City Council handed that responsibility over to the Baldwin City Recreation Commission Monday night.
Council members unanimously agreed that the pool should be managed by recreation professionals, not city administration and staff. This season, the city and recreation commission will share expenses of the $1 million pool that opened the last day of July last year.
The commission will be in charge of the daily operations of the facility, including personnel, programming and general maintenance duties. The city will remain in charge of the pool's plumbing system and will be responsible for the pool's chlorine system.
"We will still have to oversee some of the plumbing functions, such as filtration," Paine said. "There is a reluctance on the part of the city to give up that responsibility because we want to keep it in good shape for the community."
City and recreation commission staff have met on several occasions to work out the details of an agreement between the two parties.
The city is expecting to support the pool with about $50,000 the difference between the $80,000 pool budget and the $30,000 of revenue from pool programming.
"I don't think in our wildest dreams it will ever make money or break even it's how close we can get it to that point," Paine said. "We want them to operate the pool with a strong program."
Monte Ezell, recreation commission director, said the pool will open May 27 and a variety of programs will be offered, including a life saving class, swimming lessons and water aerobics. Other activities being discussed by commission staff include scuba classes, development of a swim club and a community swim meet.
"We anticipate keeping a lot of stuff going that is fun," Ezell said.
The pool's management staff is in place and interviews for lifeguards are underway. Ezell said it is important to the city, recreation commission and the community to maintain a quality staff.
"This whole process is fraught with anxiety on lots of people's parts, mine included," Ezell said. "It is probably time to do something new with a partnership. I think it's a good partnership."