Washington Park pool renovations continue

November 11, 2013
Now that the summer swimming season is over and the Washington Park pool drained, workers have begun a major repair of the pool. - Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

More renovations are under way at Washington Park pool, and city officials hope the improvements will eventually attract outside organizations and neighboring municipalities to use the facility.

The second phase of the $1 million project began last week and includes sandblasting and repainting of the pool, along with improvements to the bathhouse and refreshments pavilion.

But something as simple as painting of new lap lanes on the bottom of the 50-meter pool could ultimately bring competitions to the facility from other Washington County groups.

City Councilman Terry Faust, who oversees the parks department, said it’s been a collaborative effort by state and local officials over the past few years to plan and implement upgrades. The plans began a few years ago and have continued after the first phase, which included piping, electrical and other mechanical upgrades, ended in 2011.

“It’s an investment,” Faust said. “It’s not just for the city. It’s for the surrounding municipalities.”

He has heard that Peters Township officials have expressed interest in using Washington’s pool for competitions, a prospect that would have seemed unthinkable just a few years ago. Other improvements, such as making the bathhouse wheelchair accessible and adding amenities to the pavilion, will benefit local swimmers.

“People are really going to enjoy this,” Faust said.

Lynn Galluze, the city’s administrative coordinator, said the project includes $400,000 in local share grants and $350,000 from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, among other federal and state money. All of the second phase’s construction work should be completed before the beginning of next year’s pool season.

Washington Mayor Brenda Davis noted that the pool is just one aspect of the city’s comprehensive plan. She said the pond in the park will be dredged, and some city playgrounds are slated for upgrades.

“Having a good park is always good for attracting new residents and keeping current ones who utilize the parks and playground,” Davis said.

Meanwhile, Faust was especially proud of the improvements because of the cooperation from past and present state politicians and city leaders. He sees that teamwork continuing as the pool and park become a recreational beacon for the county.

“It’s an ongoing affair that has been really good,” Faust said.

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and Patch.com. He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

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