More than 18 months after Wauseon voters approved a levy to pay for a new community pool, construction is set to begin in Reighard Park by mid-July.
It will be the culmination of a planning process that saw delays over cost and debates about a suitable location.
The project’s general contractor, Rupp-Rosebrock of Liberty Center, will excavate the site for the pool contractor, the Astro Pool Company of Mansfield, Ohio, then renovate the existing bath house. The city has mandated completion for a Memorial Day 2018 opening.
“You should see some activity soon,” said Joe Thourot, the project’s lead architect at Duket Architects Planners in Toledo.
The $1.4 million project will include a pool with a stainless steel sidewall rather than concrete, an 82-by-45 foot six-lane racing and diving area, and a shallower 60-by-32 foot spiral slide area. They will connect to a 50-by-40 foot zero entrance walk-in area for children that includes a slide.
A bath house for the original city pool built in 1941 has been gutted for renovation. It will feature all-accessible restrooms, showers, a locker area, and benches and grab bars compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
“It’s going to be very similar to what it was originally,” Thourot said. A significant change will be a new pitched shingle roof.
A new poolside feature will be a snack building located about 15 feet from the bath house. Windows will be installed on both sides to accommodate both pool and park visitors.
A lifelong Wauseon resident who swam in the original pool as a youth, Thourot has worked on the new pool project with Duket the past six years.
“I am very proud to be able to be a part of bringing the pool back to Wauseon,” he said.
A drive to replace the city’s original pool, which closed in 2008 due to its deteriorated condition, was buoyed when New Pool 4 Wauseon, a grass-roots effort, raised funds to cover an initial engineering study. In 2015, voters approved a five-year, 2.6-mill Parks and Recreation levy for the project which generates $290,483 annually.
But the task of placing the new pool became daunting when both City Council and community members argued over two preferred locations, Dorothy B. Biddle Park and the original pool site at Reighard Park. After a prolonged debate that included pool size and the risk of children crossing busy roadways to attend, the city issued a public survey to ultimately determine the location.
A second hurdle emerged with the project’s bidding process. Rupp-Rosebrock, the only bidder, set the cost at $950,000, significantly over the architect’s estimate. After reconfiguring by Duket, which included eliminating a speed slide for the pool, the contractor’s second bid came in under three competing bids, at $785,035.
Dennis Richardson, Wauseon’s Public Service Director, said ground below the pool will be plumbed so that a speed slide may be added at a late date.
He said the public should see signs of the long-awaited project soon. “Everybody’s going to be happy when they start seeing dirt fly,” he said.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.