CENTERVILLE — The Centerville City Pool won’t open this summer, but the council has approved an alternative for the those learning to swim.
City officials said finances led to the decision to not open the pool. Centerville’s park board proposed the decision, which was reluctantly approved by a unanimous council vote.
Gov. Kim Reynolds last month revised her emergency proclamation to allow pools in Iowa to open specifically for lap swimming or swim lessons. That guidance is in effect until at least June 17.
With capacity likely to be limited to about 50 percent of normal numbers, and increased costs to clean and sanitize the pool, City Administrator Jason Fraser recommended the council keep the pool closed.
“That’s a difficult recommendation to make, but based on the current emergency proclamation which goes to June 17, pools are only allowed to open for lap swim and swim lessons,” Fraser said. “And based on the pool that we have, that’s really not a financially sound decision to make.”
The city spends around $44,000 each year on normal maintenance. The Rathbun Lake Area YMCA manages the pool and roughly breaks even on other costs, such as lifeguard pay, normal supplies, concessions and lessons. Reopening would have raised city’s costs due to more stringent cleaning requirements and recommendations for areas like the locker room facility.
The news wasn’t all gloom. The city announced a new program to fund swimming lessons. Children of Centerville residents will be able to receive free swim lessons at the Rathbun Lake Area YMCA. Details of how to participate in the program were not announced. The cost to the city is about $6,900.
“I think that really helps us get over the hurdle,” Fraser said. “And it will allow people to maybe have more fun at the lake, or places that might be able to accommodate more people.”
Centerville parks are reopening and will be subject to ongoing sanitation efforts by city crews. Those who attend the parks can also sanitize equipment they or their children will be using.
Centerville City Hall will remain closed to the public for now. Since the fire department and ambulance service share a building with city hall, officials have been erring on the side of caution before reopening the building to the public.
City council meetings will continue to be conducted virtually and accessible to the public by phone line and Zoom meeting.
Fraser said he is also keeping an eye on potential financial impacts. Outside of lost revenue, Centerville has spent roughly $12,000 on extra personal protective equipment for its employees. Some of those funds may be recouped, but how much is unclear, Fraser said.
The city is projecting, based on Iowa League of Cities estimates, a 50 percent hit to their hotel/motel tax revenues. Losses in general fund revenue, the local option sales tax and road use tax receipts are also likely.