Oakwood’s longtime community pool is about to dive into history.
The city is moving forward with replacing the pool in Oakwood City Park, which is off Railroad Street in the downtown area, with a splash pad, or recreation area featuring water spraying from a deck into the air.
If all goes as the city hopes, the new attraction could be open by Memorial Day, City Manager Stan Brown said.
This week, the City Council authorized Brown to work out a contract with Oasis Splash Pads for the project, which has a $230,000 budget.
“They fully understand the scope of the work — to fill in the old pool and create the (splash pad),” he said. “I think we’ll be in good shape.”
The city had operated the pool during the summer for years and, at one time, contracted with Georgia Mountains YMCA to run it. The pool also has operated under private management.
The pool’s future was discussed earlier this year. Facing a renovation possibly costing $80,000, city officials wondered whether continued expensive upkeep was worth reopening the pool in summer 2020.
The pool “does not pay its way,” Brown said in August.
The city received $35,000 in revenues for 2017 and 2018 combined, while the expenses overall for those two years was $81,000.
A splash pad could be more costly upfront but likely much cheaper in the long run when calculating costs of operations, lifeguards and chemicals, Public Works Director Jason Spencer has said.
“The water usage would probably stay the same, but the chemical usage … and the power consumption would drop dramatically,” he said. “The pumps and the chemicals are running 24/7.”
Brown said he believes the splash pad “will be a good step for us.”
“It’ll be something a little different than what we’ve had before,” he said. “It won’t require the lifeguard presence we’ve had at the pool, so it’s more cost-effective. And I think it will be a good thing for the kids.”