MACOMB — The Macomb Park District board of commissioners voted at a special meeting Thursday evening to adopt a resolution to withdraw from managing Glenwood Pool.
The resolution calls for the district's withdrawal from managing the pool on September 1, 2017, the anniversary date of the intergovernmental agreement. The roll-call vote passed by a narrow vote of three to two, with commissioners Pat Sowers and Valencia Pettigrew casting the two nay votes. No members of the public were present.
The adoption of the resolution doesn't mean the pool won't open this year. The district is still under obligation to manage the pool until the date the district withdraws from the intergovernmental agreement.
Ongoing operating losses were a main concern during discussion on the issue. According to a February 2017 Voice article, the city and the district have each spent $454,000 on the pool over a 15 year period, with the district operating at a loss of about $450 a day.
Commissioner Russell Hamm said that the district has lost tens of thousands of dollars  over the last three years. “This is just the Park District's side of the equation, not city's side of the equation. These figures – we're looking at $15,650 lost in 2014. (In) 2015, $25,085. (In) 2016, $50,675...These include the operational loss plus added repair costs during those three years.” He went on to say that operational losses alone were $12,162, $13,098 and $10,226 in 2014, 2015, and 2016 respectively. “The operational cost, as you can see, is more than $10,000. Is that normal? Is that acceptable? Are taxpayers wanting to spend that much money on the operational loss? That doesn't include the structural repairs and all that.”
The structural repairs Hamm referred to included engineering recommendations presented at a meeting of the Park and Pool Committee held Thursday morning.
Rachel Lenz, the district's executive director, expressed concerns that ongoing or as-yet-undiscovered repair incidents at the pool could pose an unnecessary burden on the district during a financially difficult time and possibly prompt layoffs of pool staff after hiring in good faith.
Sowers said that although he didn't want to close the pool, he had concerns that community members would be footing the bills for any repairs to the pool but didn't have a voice in the decision-making process.
Lenz responded that she had done what she described as a “very small” outreach to community members last week and had five people attend. “The majority – four out of the five – were in favor of seeing (Glenwood) pool close. Three of them were in favor of seeing that pool close with a plan to open another one. One of them was just in favor of Macomb not having any swimming pool. And then there's one community member who wanted to see Glenwood continue to exist,” she said.
In reference to a public forum on the Glenwood Pool held Wednesday night, she said, “I would think from last night's meeting the general consensus was just having a public – an outdoor public swimming pool.”
A 2014 estimate on the cost of a new pool was $6 million, according to an August 2016 Voice article.

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