Eldora Pool Padlock 2020

The Eldora Aquatic Center will remain locked up this summer after the city council voted 3-2 to keep it shut down at Tuesday's meeting.

The Eldora Aquatic Center will remained closed until at least next summer after the council voted 3-2 last night against reopening this year.

Council members Blake Jones and Aaron Budweg voted in favor of reopening the pool.

Councilman Greg Priske, who also heads the city's Parks and Rec Committee, said the combination of a lack of staff and the potential for safety issues brought his committee to recommend the closure.

"The big issue for me is the health and safety of the citizens," Priske said. "The bathrooms need to be open and need people to clean (them). Someone (would be) needed to monitor social distancing."

Pool Manager Dee Priske (Greg's wife) told the committee and the council she has only one full-time employee lined up after two informed her they would not be joining the staff even if the pool did reopen. At least seven more people, including both full- and part-timers, would be required to reopen.

Greg Priske said the committee discussed operating the Aquatic Center on a somewhat limited basis.

"We could shut down the slides completely, no concessions and reduce the staff down to a minimum," he said. "But, according to Dee, she still did not feel she had enough (staff) to safely operate a pool."

Earlier this month Dee Priske told the Parks and Rec Committee a July 1 open date would be the goal, but that would have been impossible logistically even if the council approved reopening.

Public Works Director Kelly Haskin confirmed it would take at least two weeks for all preparations to be made to reopen, including chemical treatment, filling of the pool and heating the water. He also reported that city staff have been able to clean and perform maintenance on the relay pumps and boiler at the pool, and it does not need to be filled for maintenance purposes this year.

Council members Mel Hoy and Cindy Johns each said the pool is not being closed simply because of either COVID-19, lack of staff or for monetary purposes - but a combination of the three.

"If you don't have enough staff and something were to happen and a child were to drown because you don't have enough eyes on these children in the water . . . We can't operate it that way," Hoy said.

Ongoing issues with the pool's relay pumps, boiler and the need for a paint job prompted council members to consider whether keeping the pool closed would provide an opening to fix some of those issues. The 2018 season was cut short in early August due to problems with the boiler.

"Is there any reason why we couldn't have that thing all but brand new by the time . . . If it opens up next year?" Jones asked.

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