Treading water with local swimming pools in San Juan County
Jul 30, 2008 | 826 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Swimming pools are on the minds of community leaders in San Juan County, with recent developments in Monticello, Blanding and Montezuma Creek.

This may be the last summer for operation of the Monticello City swimming pool. New regulations may result in the closure of the pool, which was built by a community effort more than 50 years ago.

“The jury is still out on the closure,” said Monticello City Manager Myron Lee. “The regulation is that we can’t open the pool without a second drain in the pool or a drain shutoff valve.”

The city parks and recreation board is scheduled to meet in August to discuss the future of the pool. In the meantime, the city is pursuing the possible construction of a new pool facility.

At the July 21 meeting of the San Juan County Commission, Commissioners contributed $50,000 to help fund a study of a new pool in Monticello.

The City of Blanding is moving forward on a $5.5 million project to construct a new community wellness center. The facility would include a 29,000 square foot gymnasium, a proposed 2,400 square foot indoor lap pool and a seasonal outdoor splash pool.

The project will be funded, in part, by a new .35 percent sales tax that was approved by voters in November and became official on April 1.

Blanding City Manager Chris Webb estimates that the sales tax will generate $175,000 per year to operate and service debt for the recreation facility. Webb says that the existing swimming pool in Blanding eventually will be closed if the new facility is constructed. The swimming pool in Blanding is not impacted by the new regulations that affect Monticello, since the Blanding pool was constructed with two drains.

The City will pursue funding through private and public sources. Blanding will make a formal funding presentation to the Utah Community Impact Board on August 7.

At the July 14 meeting of the San Juan County Commission, Commissioner Lynn Stevens reported that the costs of maintaining the swimming pool in Montezuma Creek have increased dramatically. The pool is scheduled to close today (July 30).

Utah Navajo Health Systems (UNHS) operates the pool from a lease with the county. UNHS is investigating the concept of converting the facility into a gymnasium, with practice space for winter sports teams.

UNHS estimates it has spent more than $400,000 over the past seven years to operate the pool. In addition, UNHS support for other Montezuma Creek-area recreation programs over the past seven years has been an additional $300,000.

The Montezuma Creek pool was constructed in the 1980s and has been operated by UNHS for the past seven years.
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