WATERLOO — Repairs to the Byrnes Park swimming pool could take longer than expected.
City officials said it has been difficult to line up repairs for the leaky pool because the few contractors available to work on aluminum pools are extremely busy.
Mark Gallagher, recreation services manager, said Waterloo Leisure Services had reached out to Chester Pool Systems but is sixth on their list for emergency repairs. It will be weeks until the contractor arrives, and repair times won’t be known until the pool is peeled back.
“People who bought season passes eventually are going to demand a refund,” Gallagher said.
The city opened the Gates Park swimming pool June 1, while a leaky pipe around the drain system has left the busier Byrnes Park pool idled.
Leisure Services extended hours and moved swimming lessons to the Gates pool, honoring season passes at the Cedar Valley SportsPlex indoor pool.
But Gallagher said there hasn’t been much use at the SportsPlex, and open swims at Gates have not shown a noticeable increase in attendance. Many of the kids using Byrnes in the past had walked to the pool.
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He also noted the situation has created a problem for lifeguards the city hired for the season. There is some fear those employees will look for other work and won’t be available when the Byrnes pool opens.
The city has been exploring what to do with the two city pools, which were both built in 1981. “We’re on year 39 of a pool with a 20-year life expectancy,” Gallagher said.
A consulting firm developed a $12 million conceptual design to build a new multi-featured pool and aquatic center at Byrnes Park and replace the Gates Park pool with a large spray park.
Leisure Services Director Paul Huting said it may take a public vote in favor of a bond issue for that plan to move forward.
“I think we can raise half of the $12 million we need, but the rest is probably going to have to come from … a referendum,” he said.
Questions about the Byrnes pool and swimming options can be directed to the Cedar Valley SportsPlex at 291-0165.