The Washington Parks Department has decided to purchase a new pool pump and motor to replace the broken one.

“They can’t be rebuilt due to the damage and their age,” Parks Director Darren Dunkle told the parks board Wednesday, Sept. 5.

The new parts won’t be purchased until after the new budget is completed in October.

Right now Dunkle said the department is working to get the pricing figured out and then once the budget has been approved the department will make those purchases.

Pool Season

The issues with the pump and motor were severe enough to close the main pool at the Agnes Nolting Aquatics Complex July 21. The main pool remained closed through Aug. 12, the end of the pool season.

By July 27, the department began draining the pool due to the broken pump not being able to pump chemicals into it. The water had become cloudy and Dunkle said it was becoming a safety issue.

Due to the season being cut short, the parks department offered a prorated refund to the season pass holders from the time the pool closed to the end of the season.

“I don’t know if people have physically received them in the mail,” Dunkle said. “We have processed everything.”

The refund will most likely add to the pool’s operating costs. Pool costs typically run between $100,000 to $120,000 a year.

“Other than the pump and motor issue, it has been a typical year,” Dunkle said. “The pool will be open next year.”

Future of Complex

Prior to the break down, the park board had considered closing the pool completely due to the cost of upkeep of leaky pumps and filters known to breakdown due to age.

After the public voiced displeasure with this option, it has not been brought up since.

Instead, an aquatics committee has been put together to discuss a possibility of a new pool that will be funded through the half-cent capital improvement sales tax that was approved for extension in April. The tax is expected to produce about $2.2 million per year for the eight-year term.

A new pool is estimated to cost about $4 million to build.

Currently, the committee has interviewed the two consulting firms that submitted proposals to conduct the public engagement process for review.

Dunkle said the committee will negotiate with the firms to decide on a fee. The fee discussion will pass through the park board before going to the city council for approval.

“So we’re hoping within the next month that we will be moving through this process,” Dunkle said.

The committee has stated it hopes to award a contract by Thursday, Sept. 20. Once a firm has been selected, the public engagement process will commence.

The first phase will assess community opinion and priorities through various surveys and meetings. The second phase will include an overview of the data gathered presented by the consulting firm. Then, the pool planning will begin.

Dunkle said during the July park board meeting that he’s hopeful there will be a groundbreaking for the proposed pool in two years.