MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

May 23, 2012

Eufaula pool shut down this summer

EUFAULA — Lack of funding will keep the Eufaula city swimming pool closed this summer.

Eufaula Mayor Selina Jayne-Dornan said the pool, a Works Progress Administration project built in 1939, needs major repairs, which the city cannot afford.

“It’s old, and it just needs a lot of work,” Jayne-Dornan said. “For one thing, it is not ADA compliant.”

She was referring to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Another problem is that the drains at the bottom of the pool are not safe, she said, adding that the City Council voted earlier this year not to open the pool.

Eufaula resident Susie Deere said she’s disappointed at the pool’s closing.

“I have grandchildren who play in it every summer,” Deere said. “There’s no place for them to go.”

Deere said the grandchildren would go to the pool “four or five days a week.”

Jayne-Dornan said she had looked for grants to help pay for pool repairs.

“Repair estimates came in at $800,000 to $1 million,” Jayne-Dornan said. “Even at a 50-50 match we cannot afford it.”

She said sales tax deposits, the main source of revenue for the city’s general fund, have been tight over the past three years. Total deposits for fiscal year 2009 were $1.910 million. Deposits for fiscal year 2010 dropped by more than $97,000 to $1.812 million. Deposits were up to $1.84 million in fiscal year 2011.

With one month left in the fiscal year, sales tax deposits for 2012 are $1.69 million.

Pam Bailey, who has taken nieces to the Eufaula pool, said she is not surprised the city is closing the pool this year.

“It’s budget cuts in general,” Bailey said, adding that Tulsa has closed city swimming pools in the past.

Eufaula has other options for people who want to be in the water. The city has a beach and swimming area on Lake Eufaula.

Jellystone Park, a nearby campground, has two swimming beaches and a swimming pool. Day passes are $10 per person and include the pool, swimming beaches, the water recreation areas, paddle boats and mini-golf (plus 25 cents for the ball), said Tim Nelson, Jellystone manager.

Nelson said he’s received several calls about season passes, but the park cannot offer them.

Deere said the lake is too dirty. She said she also was concerned about blue-green algae advisories at area lakes, including parts of Lake Eufaula last summer.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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