By Michael Buhler
The Conway Springs Pool Revitalization Fund has been around for many years, but it has made some quantum leaps since 2009.
Starting out with just over $5,000 available in 2009, the fund currently sits at more than $25,000 and some of the goals of revitalizing the pool might not be so far away.
“The swimming pool has always been a passion of mine,” Jenny Osner, pool mananger said. “It is a great resource for the children in our community – a place for them to come and play, as well as take swimming lessons or participate in swim team. It is also a place for adults to come and take water aerobics or enjoy lap swimming, as well as a family gathering place.”
One major concern over the years has been the pool’s circulation system. Whenever the system is shut off for cleaning each day, it allows foreign objects to come in through holes in the piping and drains. When the pump is turned back on, those foreign objects get blasted through the pipes and into the pool. The lifeguards have been cleaning those objects out of the pool daily before opening it to the public, keeping the problem under control for now.
“When we talked to pool companies to give us a bid on fixing our pipes and the three drains at the bottom of the swimming pool, they figured we would need to budget about $150,000 to fix the circulation system and drains – if not more,” Osner said. “We also looked into cost estimates to build a new pool, for comparison reasons, and some of those quotes were in the $2-3 million range.
“We knew at that time that fixing our current pool was a much better goal than building a new pool, especially since our infrastructure is very good according to the companies that came in with estimates.”
According to Osner, the piping, the filter and the chlorinator are relatively new, as they were installed in 1996 thanks to funding from the city. However, the drains at the bottom of the pool may be more than 75 years old, and could be one of the current pool’s biggest liabilities.
“Rumor has it the drains were put in around the 1930s and haven’t been updated since,” Osner said. “That is one place we predict we are losing water each day. The other place where we are having breaks and leakage issues is from the new pipe under the concrete to the pool wall where the clean-filtered water enters. The project in 1996 did not include replacing the pipe lines from the pool wall outlets to this new piping under the deck. Because of this new information, we are hoping that fixing the drains and pool wall piping will be a lot less than we first predicted.”
Osner is hopeful that the city and the Conway Springs Recreation Commission will help them get the piping and drains fixed, and would like to use at least part of the revitalization fund money for a water slide, more shade areas for smaller children, sun deck areas to sit under and more permanent benches.
“We have begun looking at slides,” Osner said. “One would cost about $20,000 to put in, but the committee is trying to decide if this slide is the best one for our community and then where the best location would be to put it. Would it be better to take out one diving board and put one slide there in its place, or would it be better to put the slide in the middle section of the pool and keep open the diving board space?
“We are weighing the options and trying to decide where the slide would get the most amount of use for the patrons visiting and using the swimming pool. All these are discussion topics and one the pool committee is looking at.”
The revitalization fund is taking another step to get the money needed to improve the pool next weekend, when it has its first fundraiser of the year on Saturday, May 11. That will be the Summer Kick-off Fun Run, which kicks off at 8 a.m. The Fun Run is a two-mile run (or walk) that starts and ends at the pool. More than 100 runners have participated each of the last two years and Osner is hoping for 125 entrants this year. She added that the Pool Committee already has raised almost $2,000 with the race.
Registration fees for the event are $20 to pre-register and $25 on the day of the race; however, entries must be received by this Friday to guarantee a t-shirt. Entry forms can be picked up at the Conway Springs schools or Hired Man’s Grocery and Grill, and can be dropped off at Hired Man’s or mailed to the CS POOL/CSRC, P.O. Box 612, Conway Springs, KS 67031. Checks should be made payable to the CS Pool Revitalization Fund.
Also, raffle tickets will also be on sale until May 11 for the Green Mountain Grill and Tool Box. Winners will be announced the day of the run.
“To see so many volunteers – too many for me to name – coming together for these community projects to help revitalize the swimming pool, while raising funds with family, friendly activities, is exciting,” Osner said. “With as much energy the pool committee volunteers have, my hopes are high on meeting our goals to revitalize our local pool and in a timely manner.”