COOLIDGE — The Coolidge city pool was closed for good on Friday, well ahead of the initial anticipated date for closure — and it wasn’t because of state orders.
The Coolidge Parks and Recreation Department was forced to close the 33-year-old facility despite efforts to keep it open for the remainder of the summer before tearing it down to make way for a new aquatic center.
“It was a pretty sad day for everybody on our end Friday when we had to make that decision,” Parks and Recreation Director Ricky LaPaglia said. “Our summer is not what we planned it to be.”
The pool was originally scheduled to close on Aug. 16.
The department cited ongoing mechanical issues and the inability to make the repairs in a timely manner as the primary reasons behind the closure. However, it would have likely had to close anyway just a few days later as Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday ordered all pools with more than 10 people to close for 30 days in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The mechanical issues were caused by a failure in the pool’s main pump, which despite efforts to fix was deemed irreparable. Replacing the pump, and its corresponding components, would have taken thousands of dollars and weeks to obtain, LaPaglia said.
He estimates that by the time repairs would have been completed, the pool would have been open to the public for about three weeks.
“We exhausted every option,” he said. “At that point, spending that kind of money to only be open for three weeks didn’t make a lot of sense.”
Though the pool will be replaced by an aquatic center that is being funded through the sale of voter-approved bonds, the existing facility was scheduled to be open for the summer.
But as the needed repairs would have likely required “a complete overhaul” of the facility’s mechanical system, LaPaglia said, the approval of a new aquatic center by Coolidge voters last year may have come at just the right time.
Construction on the new aquatic center won’t begin until Aug. 31. The center is anticipated to open next summer.
Located at Coolidge High School, 684 W. Northern Ave., the city pool debuted in May 1987. The pool was the result of an intergovernmental agreement between the Coolidge Unified School District and city of Coolidge that went into effect on July 10, 1985.
The unanticipated closure is one in a series of “disappointments” for the Parks and Recreation Department throughout a year in which much of its programing has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although swim meets were canceled this year because of the pandemic, about 100 kids were signed up as part of the team. The team was scheduled to use this summer to practice.
As a result of the closure, practices have also been canceled. All participants will be refunded, LaPaglia said.
In addition, private reservations of the pool for parties or other events will also be refunded.
“The overall feeling is disappointment — not just from my department but from the city in general,” LaPaglia said. “Nobody wanted this pool to go out like this. We wanted one last summer before we started (construction on) the new one.”