The Smithville Municipal Swimming Pool isn't as accessible for the physically challenged as it should be in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the city has until next spring to bring it into compliance.
In February, the aldermen voted to accept a bid from the Langley and Taylor Pool Corporation of Nashville in the amount of $83,649 to replace the fiberglass coating of the pool and that work will be finished by May 10th but the renovation project didn't include making the pool more user friendly for the handicapped. City officials were apparently unaware at the time that the ADA requirements had to be met by next year.
During a special meeting on the issue Monday night, the aldermen considered proceeding with the renovations to accommodate the handicapped now. However, since no specific plans have yet been drawn up and facing the possibility that any such work would not be completed in time for the swimming season, the aldermen decided to delay the project until at least after the summer.
Alderman Steve White said while he understands the work will have to be delayed, he would have preferred to do it now. "I brought this up to the guys over there at the pool (Langley and Taylor) back whenever they first came in probably a couple of months ago. He was supposed to be getting with the owners of the company and the health department to let us know what requirements and specific things we would need like grade, jets, drain vents and all. Of course, they kind of dropped the ball and here we are two months later and we still haven't found out anything. This is one of the things that eventually we will have to do and that is to make it handicapped accessible. The zero entry is something that I've been wanting to do for quite a while. Its not going to be near as expensive if we (city) do the work. The main thing will be the labor expenses. If the city employees do it you're looking at using probably two to three guys for roughly four to five days. We'll have some electrical that will have to be moved more than likely. We really won't know until we get in there and tear the deck off. There are probably some drain lines that will have to be re-routed. You'll have some water lines that'll have to be re-routed. The drains will have to be spouted off each side of it instead of across it. The water lines could be elbowed down and put back in. The electrical could be run around. Our guys do concrete work all the time. We're not going to be looking at that much expense on the concrete. Probably five or six yards of concrete at the most. The other expense will be whatever the pool guy charges to plaster approximately three hundred more square feet of the pool area," said White
Taylor Dobbs of the Langley and Taylor Pool Corporation met with the mayor and aldermen Monday night and reviewed some of the city's alternatives in making the pool renovations for the handicapped. "Its not so much that you want to just be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, you're actually wanting to create a way for anyone to access the pool regardless of physical condition. However it is important to note that since that pool is so large you'll have to have a secondary means of entry so even if you do the zero entry concept, which is going from a zero grade and gradually sloping into the pool, you're also going to have to have a secondary means of entering the pool and that can be a portable chair lift. Any pool over 300 feet has to have one so you'll be looking at incurring that expense as well. The two primary options are the zero entry and the portable chairlifts. If you decide to do the chairlift, you'll need two of them because the pool is so large. That would be your primary and secondary means of entry. If you just do the zero entry, you'll have to have a secondary entry, either the chairlift or a transfer wall which is kind of a hand hold you use to climb into the pool over a wall. I don't think that would be very easy for a handicapped person to use. Then there's the transfer system which is basically a staircase or steps that each have their own little rail that persons can use to bump themselves into the pool. That would be another option. You could possibly do just a concrete ramp," said Dobbs.
Alderman Aaron Meeks said whichever option the city should choose, plans will have to be drawn up and submitted to the state health department for approval and that will take time, delaying the start of the swimming season at the pool. "The first thing you've got to do is have plans drawn up by someone who is authorized or qualified to draw up the plans of what you want to do. You have to submit that to the state for approval. That could take thirty days and if it (plans) has to be changed it could take another thirty days. That could go on for who knows how long? It could be the beginning to mid June before they could have it ready for the pool to open. The swimming season is then missing. As I understand it, we don't have to do this (project) this year. We have until next year to have all this done. I would prefer to see some costs in writing and plans in writing drawn up about what we've talked about doing and whatever alternatives we might have along that line. That's what I would like to see," said Meeks
Mayor Taft Hendrixson suggested that the project be delayed for now. "The way it looks to me if we're going to do this, time wise the pool might not even be open this year if we go ahead and start this now. It might make sense to go ahead and open it (pool) this year and make plans to do that next year before the pool opens," said Mayor Hendrixson.
The aldermen voted to postpone the project until at least after the summer and ask the Langley and Taylor Pool Corporation to further study the options and suggest the best alternative for making the city swimming pool ADA compliant.