Union Splash-N-Swimplex

The city of Union is hoping to have more success when it rebids a water slide maintenance project after not getting any bids the first time around.

Union is resurfacing the large slides at the Splash-N-Swimplex, as well as the polar bear slide in the small kids area. The project has an estimated cost of $80,000.

“They all need to be repainted, resurfaced, just because of their age,” Parks Director Chad Pohlmann said. “The larger slides have been there 20 years now, and the polar bear slide is losing some paint in different areas.”

Pohlmann said he expects to get more bidders when the project is bid again Dec. 3. He said he has sent many emails and made phone calls to try to let companies know about the project.

Two companies have come out and assessed the project at the pool, Pohlmann said. “I’m getting more responses and questions. I’m expecting to receive a bid proposal from at least those two companies.”

The actual sliding surfaces remain in good condition, Pohlmann said.

“It’s more the exterior, and, in the process, they will be resurfacing the actual slide area,” he said. “It’s just maintenance of the slides to make sure they stay aesthetically the color we want them to be, and it also helps maintain their life. If we don’t do it now and let it go until we had to do something with the slide surface area, then we would probably have more of a cost for the maintenance of those slides.”

The polar bear slide, which features textured colors, is particularly in need of work, Pohlmann said.

The pool is coming off an unusual summer season. It was closed at the start of the season, which is usually around Memorial Day, because of the coronavirus pandemic. It opened July 1 to a limit of 100 people at a time and only to Union residents, to allow for social distancing after the board of aldermen voted to reopen parks.

After attendance at the pool regularly came in well below 100 people at a time, the pool was opened up to non-Union residents on weekdays starting July 21. The pool ended up reaching the 100-person capacity a handful of times. In normal times, the pool has a capacity of 400 people.

The pool had been scheduled to close for the season Sunday, Aug. 16, but stayed open the following three weekends to help make up for the lost time at the start of the summer.

Pohlmann said he was happy that the city was able to provide the pool to the public this year. It was also important to offer swim clinics and to provide a place for kids who swim competitively to practice, he said.

“Our numbers overall were way lower than they are traditionally, and I think that is attributed to everything that is happening in the last year,” he said.

The parks department is focusing on the events it has planned the rest of this year and in early 2021, but currently has no other major changes planned at the pool, Pohlmann said.

“The climate of (the) COVID world will dictate how we open next year,” he said. “And that’s just something that we can’t even predict. Every day and week is different.”