Barnesville pool renovation project is complete

T-L Photo/SCOTT MCCLOSKEY Barnesville Mayor Dale Bunting celebrates the completion of a pool renovation project at Memorial Park by being the first to ride the brand new slide into the pool Tuesday.

BARNESVILLE — Mayor Dale Bunting took the dip of a lifetime Tuesday as he celebrated the completion of the pool rehabilitation at Memorial Park.

The pool is set to reopen to the public Thursday, and the occasion will be celebrated with free admission for the public through Sunday. Bunting had the privilege of being the first to enjoy the refurbished facility late Tuesday afternoon, slipping down the newly installed sliding board as the first person to enter the pool this season. He also took the opportunity to frolic through the children’s area like an oversized kid.

The pool reopening is the culmination of almost a year and a half of planning and work that began in February 2017, when village officials learned that the park had received a donation of more than $750,000 from the estate of Lucille Wittmer. Two other large projects made possible by the gift were completed last summer: All major roads and parking areas in the park were repaved and the park’s Amazing Playground was razed and replaced by an updated, more modern playground.

Bunting announced in July 2017 that the Wittmer gift also would be used to make improvements to the pool, with a zero entry — a very gradual ramp that allows patrons to walk from dry land into the water — and new filtration system being the first planned changes announced.

Construction was delayed periodically over the winter months because of inclement weather and once when it was discovered that the old pump house had no foundation under it, which prevented it from housing the new filtration equipment.

According to Village Administrator Roger Deal, the village spent $900,000 on the project. In addition to the zero entry and filtration system, the finalized project includes new stainless steel walls and gutters, a new plaster bottom that will require less maintenance than the old pool bottom, a children’s splash zone with a sprinkling palm tree and three water jets and a drop slide that required that the deep end of the pool be dug deeper. Outside the pool itself, the area features all new fencing, additional canopies for shade, new lounge chairs and shower rooms that are now brighter and provide for more privacy.

The recreational area including the pool and the new playground will be named the Lucille Wittmer Pool Complex in her memory.

Village Council President Brad Hudson made the announcement at Monday’s Village Council meeting that the community would celebrate completion of the project by offering free admission later this week. Hudson also had announced at the council meeting June 25 that to mark the reopening and as an apology for the late completion that pool pass prices would be reduced. Family season passes, which usually sell for $125, are being offered for $100; individual passes that sold for $75 are being reduced to $50. Those passes will be good for this year as well as next year.

Bunting expressed appreciation for all who donate to make the park a central part of the Barnesville community.

“It’s very easy to talk about our community,” he said. “You look at our park and you look at the donations we get and the things that people allow us to do out there, and they know what we do with the money, as far as the village council and the park board. The park is a showcase in memory of a lot of folks that did a lot of things for our community, and I’m very proud of that. We need to honor them.”