The Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation Health and Wellness Center at College Park will be closed for the next nine days as crews perform annual maintenance on the facility.
During the shutdown, workers will be doing general maintenance on both the gymnasium and natatorium as well as acid washing and painting the pool, and stripping and resealing the gym floor.
The entire facility, including the walking track, is shut down due to the strong fumes from the paint and chemicals used in the floor refinishing.
Parks Board Chairman Charlie Eury told board members at their monthly meeting Monday the facilities would remain closed a little longer this year to insure all the fumes are out of the buildings.
“Last year we had a few complaints about some of the odors still being in the building after our shutdown,” Eury said. “That’s something we want to make sure that they are all gone before we open back up. Right now we are scheduled to reopen on Thursday (Aug. 23).
“This shutdown gives us a chance to do some annual maintenance, things that we can’t do when the facilities are open and to spruce up the facilities and do some repairs. I think visitors will notice a difference when it reopens.”
In other business, the board heard a report from Ramsey Flynn on the progress of talks concerning the pool at Community Park, which has been closed for several years.
Flynn said several recommendations came from a meeting he had with Eury, Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner, Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham and Winchester City Manager Ken Kerns.
The group recommended that the parks department form a committee to first come up with a site plan for the pool location, look at funding sources and then hold public meetings to get input from community members.
“A facility at that park is No. 1 on the priority list with our community. The only answer is that we need to replace what is out there right now. Not to just let it set 10 years and not do anything with it,” Flynn said.
“A splash park at that site would be great. But first we have to have a site plan, see what it is going to cost, look at types of funding to pay for it, look at designs, meet with contractors. This is going to be a long process. It's not going to happen next spring. It's something that is going to happen next summer, but it has to be done.”
Some community members have expressed wishes for another box-type pool to replace the existing one and Flynn said that option would be explored as the committee visits splash parks in other towns to talk with officials on the pros and cons of the box pools, their usage numbers as well as the future costs of maintaining a box pool compared to the upkeep and costs of a splash park.
Flynn said these are the first steps of an effort that will take some time and community involvement.
“It is going to be a process and a lot of work, but we need to move on with it and we need to get it done,” Flynn said. “It is a community project, and it is going to take a community all together to replace the pool that is there. It is going to be a lot of work but I think it can be done.”
The board also:
— Approved a job description for an assistant aquatics director and approved Parks Director Jeff Lewis advertising the position. The position will be filled from within the department’s existing pool staff.
“We’re not adding a position, we’re hiring from our existing personnel, basically as a failsafe to have someone trained from within that can take over and run the pool in case Michelle, for some reason, leaves or moves up,” Lewis said. “We’ll be pulling from our head guards and giving them some extra training so that they can run the place if needed.”
— Approved a job description of administrative specialist. The position is a redescription of job duties for the position currently held by Fern Blake. The current job description was written before the natatorium was built. The new description includes the duties Blake has been performing with the inclusion of the natatorium. The board approved an increase in salary for the position from $20,000 to $22,000.
— Approved the emergency hires of Tommy Rector as a permanent full-time maintenance/custodial worker and Carson Brashear and Chris Johnson as seasonal workers to replace two employees who were terminated.
— Heard updates on the upcoming John Michael Montgomery Country Fest scheduled for Sept. 28-29 and the rescheduled July 4 Celebration on Sept. 15.
Contact Bob Flynn at email@example.com.