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Inspector closes Springfield pool

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By Jimmie Earls

“In good conscience, I cannot renew the permit for the pool this year,” said Kate Peake, an environmentalist with the Washington County Environmental Office. Peake addressed the Springfield City Council on her findings following an inspection of the facility on May 5. For the first time in its 56-year history, the pool will be closed this summer.

“It’s out-lived its time,” Peake told the council. “The permit expired on April 3, and we’re not going to renew it.”

“It’s a sad day,” said Springfield Mayor John W. Cecconi. “All of my kids learned to swim there and were on the swim team. And I know some of my grandchildren learned to swim up there, too. It’s a loss, particularly to the people who don’t have a chance to go to a private pool.”

“Pools that were in compliance or in operation before the regulation can stay in operation until the system becomes so antiquated or in disrepair that it can’t maintain the chemical standards, and that’s where you all are,” Peake told the city council. “I know that’s not great news, and I hate to close your pool, but it’s a major health safety issue.”

Mayor Cecconi has not ruled out options for the future, including the possibility of re-opening the pool or building a splash pad as an alternative.

“If it’s not price-prohibitive, we could open it next year,” he said. “I would hope that maybe they would relinquish some of those rules and regulations like triple-flush and all of that stuff, because the pool has been going for well over 50 years and it’s served a pretty good purpose. I am optimistic that possibly we can get it going again. Just from what I’m hearing, the repairs to the pool would cost more than putting in a splash pad. I think a splash pad would be less costly to maintain. It all boils down to the dollar, unfortunately.”

See the complete story in this week's Springfield Sun!