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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Retrofit may force closure of city pool

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Shelbyville's city council will have to approve bids to bring the city's swimming pools into compliance with a new federal law passed in December.

And unless the outdoor pool at the Shelbyville Recreation Center is retrofitted with new equipment by May, the city will not be able to open it for the summer.

The lap pool indoors at the Rec Center was closed at the end of 2008 after the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act went into effect.

The new law, signed last December, mandates that all public pools in the country update their drain covers and/or drain systems to meet new, stricter standards by today.

The act was named for 7-year-old Virginia, the granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker, who drowned in 2002 after being sucked into a spa drain.

As a result of the new law, only the shallow pool has remained open with just one or two lanes roped off for lap swimming.

False bottoms were placed across the pool, against the dividing bulkhead, to prevent anyone from swimming through the 22-inch gap between the pool's bottom and the bulkhead.

City manager Ed Craig told the council that 80 percent of the public pools in the country have been closed "because they can't get this done."

The estimated cost to get the pools into compliance will be $13,824 for the indoor facility and $5,380 for the outside pool.

Craig also added that the money for the drain would come for the city's major repair fund and will not go against the city's budgeted deficit.

The city manager also recommended holding off on patching the outdoor pool with marcite until a later date, perhaps when it is emptied to install the required drains.

City recreation director Sylvia Pinson said last year that pool manufacturers only had a year to make the mandated drains, and demand is high for the required parts, with the city now on several waiting lists.