Then, on Friday, February 28, residents of Southmoor Park received a mailing with some strange wording about the direction that the pool replacement project appeared to be heading:
What's a "water activity feature" and what happened to the pool?
In the mentioned community meeting that took place yesterday evening (March 6), the city representatives announced that they were looking at an unsupervised "splash pad" instead of a pool. A splash pad (sometimes called a spray park) typically has pop-up jet fountains or overhead showers that turn on randomly. You've probably seen them at Boulder's Pearl Street Mall or Longmont's Sandstone Ranch.
In the packed meeting, near-consensus opinion among residents was to bring the pool back. Some reasons that were voiced:
- A splash pad is a 15-minute activity vs. a typical two-hour stay at the pool.
- The pool is a cherished community asset, for all of Longmont to enjoy, in a friendly park environment.
- Many said that the pool was high on their list for why they chose to live in Southmoor Park.
- Walking to the pool with the kids is a highly-valued quality of life issue.
- An attended (supervised) facility is much preferable.
- If this pool does not re-open, the remaining Longmont kiddie pool at Roosevelt Park will be overcrowded and not worth attending.
Why the suggested change in direction? The city is struggling to find enough real-estate to build a new pool that's near the existing restroom facilities, which were not damaged by the flood. The $800K cost for a new pool is also a concern. Some creative pool location ideas were suggested to city staff and in fairness to the them, the city has no agenda in pushing a splash park. This was a pure input-solicitation discussion.
I didn't see any Times-Call coverage of the meeting last night and it's likely that Kanemoto Park Pool users outside of Southmoor Park have not heard of this discussion. It's also likely that the key users of the pool, namely families with small children, were unable to attend last night's meeting. The city's timeframe is very short in that they need to award the design contract soon, for whatever facility direction they pursue.
If you or your friends use the pool (including for day camps and birthday outings) and want to see it rebuilt, send your comments to Jeff Friesner (contact information here) of City Recreation Services and Kim with City Parks. They heard the clear message from neighorhood residents last night but it would be good for other residents around town to chime in, too.