NEW HAVEN — With swimming season approaching, the fate of the New Haven Municipal Pool is hanging in the balance.
The pool was briefly mentioned during the most recent town council meeting, when Mayor Jerry Spradling asked the few residents in attendance their thoughts on it. The consensus of the audience was to close the pool and use the money for something more needed in the town.
No further discussion took place, nor did council vote on the matter. Mayor Spradling later said, however, that according to figures given to him, the pool is not generating enough revenue during the summer months to break even.
“Kids just won’t go,” the mayor said, “Whether it be they are going to friends’ houses to swim, or not swimming at all.”
With the rising cost of chemicals, plus other upkeep and expenses, the mayor said it doesn’t look feasible to keep it in operation. A sinkhole near the pool in the shelter area is also a concern that would have to be addressed if the pool remains open, he added.
“I hate it,” Spradling said. “Some of the best times of my youth were at that pool.”
The pool has been operating over the past several years on donations solicited from local business, industry and individuals. It normally employs up to seven high school and college students as lifeguards each summer, and is open from the beginning of June until Mason County Fair week in August.
The New Haven Municipal Pool is the lone public pool in the county. New Haven is by far not the only nearby town that has faced funding issues with swimming pools in past years, however.
Point Pleasant’s Harmon Park Pool closed several years ago, as did the pool in the Village of Middleport, Ohio. A splash park replaced Middleport’s pool last year, and the City of Point Pleasant is currently raising funds to build a splash pad at Krodel Park.
If New Haven closes the pool, the nearest public swimming venues will be the Ohio locations of Syracuse, Gallipolis, and the Ohio University Aquatic Center in Athens.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at email@example.com.