CH pool plans on hold; splash pad damaged

By ED HOWELL
Posted 5/14/20

CARBON HILL - The Carbon Hill City Council indicated Monday that the splash pad was too damaged from the April 12 Easter tornado to be used this summer, and that the city will have to see how the COVID-19 situation plays out before it sees about opening up the city swimming pool this year. 

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CH pool plans on hold; splash pad damaged

Posted

CARBON HILL - The Carbon Hill City Council indicated Monday that the splash pad was too damaged from the April 12 Easter tornado to be used this summer, and that the city will have to see how the COVID-19 situation plays out before it sees about opening up the city swimming pool this year. 

However, the council agreed to get supplies and to take applications for lifeguards in case the pool is able to open.  Those wanting to be lifeguards can turn in applications now. 

The council sat down for its first meeting since late February. Mayor Mark Chambers was out due to illness, leaving District 6 Councilman Greg Anderson to chair the meeting. District 4 council member Robert Warren was absent, as he is in jail awaiting murder charges. 

The five council members practiced social distancing due to the pandemic, as District 2 Councilman Clarence Colbert and District 3 Councilwoman April Kennedy Herron sat at a table in front of the council dais. Chairs in the audience section were also spread out from each other. 

Herron said Guin is opening its water park, but no word had been received about the Fayette water park. She noted the local pool cannot be opened until the state lifts closings for such facilities under its COVID-19 health orders. 

However, she talked of starting the process, such as hiring lifeguards. She said in two weeks she would likely know more about that. 

Larry Smith, who has been director of the pool, said the municipal facility usually is open from Memorial Day to the first weekend in August. 

Smith said many preparations would be needed to be done, such as draining the pool, pressure washing the bottom of it, painting it, ordering the chemicals, and training and certifying the lifeguards. Out of eight lifeguards last years, only three would be able to come back. 

He said Chambers had hoped to be able to open the pool by June 1. However, Anderson worried about wasting money if the state doesn't open up the pools. 

"If this social distancing stays in for any length of time at all, there won't be any swimming pool," Anderson said. "We're caught between a rock and a hard place." 

Herron noted the splash pad "is messed up, so that's not going to happen this year," adding that is "is bad." She later clarified she doesn't expect it to open this summer. 

Officials said the splash pad was damaged badly by the storm. The site's fence is twisted and on the ground in places, and the pavilion appears to show cosmetic marks caused from wind damage. 

"The bulldog on the toddler end of the splash pad, the tornado almost ripped it off completely off the pad," Smith said. "I'm sure the water connections to it are broken. You can almost lift it off." 

Herron said the city has also not heard back on insurance for it, and Anderson said he understands the city is having problems getting bids to repair it.

Smith said the overall plumbing appears to be intact. 

Herron noted lifeguard certifications are only done certain days, so once the state lifts restrictions, those hired could be told to get certifications. 

Anderson suggested that if the state opens up pools by the end of May that the city will grant the funds and other needs to open the pool. If the state doesn't open up by then, the council will hold off action and discuss it at a later time. 

The council cancelled the May 25 meeting due to Memorial Day. The next council meeting is set for June 8.