Swimming community concerned with renovations to Southwood Park pool

WTAP News @ 10
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 11:12 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - A public information meeting was held at the Southwood Park pool Thursday evening to discuss the planned enhancements to the pool that are coming in the fall. The meeting was led by City Engineer Adam Stout and Development Director Ryan Barber.

While plans are not finalized, competitive swimmers, their parents, and coaches expressed their concerns about renovating the pool.

As part of the new renovations, the 50-meter pool would be replaced with a six-lane 25-meter pool.

Other enhancements to the pool would include:

  • Zero-depth entry pool
  • New slides and water feature play equipment
  • Shade awnings throughout the site
  • Concrete slab replacement
  • New plumbing and filtration equipment (filter, pump, strainer)
  • Fencing, audio, and lighting upgrades

Members of the Parkersburg, Parkersburg South and Parkersburg Sharks swim teams are concerned that by taking the 50-meter pool away, the teams will have one less place to go to practice or hold swim meets of their own. Currently, teams practice at the YMCA of Parkersburg or the Boys and Girls Club of Parkersburg.

Some people said the city is excluding the youth that is currently competing and those who want to compete in the future. Many also do not want a splash pad or other water features because they already exist at pools in Parkersburg City Park, Marietta, and St. Marys.

One parent said it’s like telling the basketball team they are taking away half the basketball court.

Mayor Tom Joyce and Councilwoman Sharon Kuhl were in attendance.

Mayor Joyce said that based on the number of children who live around the pool within walking or bike distance, they chose to update the Southwood Park pool for those families to enjoy.

Kuhl said the Southwood Park pool would not be able to open next summer the way it is now without some renovations.

She said she would love nothing more than to have the 50-meter pool, but they have to be reasonable with the budget at $3 million as the city has been saving money to allow for these renovations to happen.

Sharon Kesselring with the American Red Cross voiced her concerns about the zero-depth entry into the pool. While it makes the pool more accessible, Kesselring is concerned the new entry will take away space to hold swim lessons for both adults and children.

If all goes to plan, the project will begin in the fall and finish in time for the summer.

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