CARBON HILL - The Carbon Hill City Council talked Monday night about making preparations for the municipal swimming pool's summer season, noting the facility is having problems with crumbling concrete.
Street Superintendent Alan May asked for direction at the meeting on the pool, saying it was time to consider making preparations, such as painting. The pool normally opens about a week after school lets out for the summer.
Mayor Mark Chambers said he was thinking about pouring a 2-inch concrete cap in the pool, noting the worst end is in the shallow end of the pool. "Once you get to the slope, it is not really that bad," he said.
In explaining the problem of painting the pool, the mayor said, "When you roll the roller over the top of it, it pulls the concrete off the bottom of it and throws it on top of it. It is impossible to paint."
District 3 Councilwoman April Kennedy Herron said the pool would not take another paint job in its current condition.
District 5 Councilman Jason Chambers said U.S.A Ready Mix makes a product "like an adhesive that paints on for overlaying concrete on top of concrete." However, all the loose material has to come out in preparation.
The mayor asked Jason Chamber, District 1 Councilman McClain Burrough and District 6 Councilman Greg Anderson to look into solutions. Herron suggested performing repairs over the entire pool area and not just the shallow end. She and May said concrete is coming up across the entire area of the pool.
Mark Chambers said the crews would try to go "wall-to-wall" with the pool work.
Burrough worried if the city had enough time to scrape the loose material up. Mark Chambers said if the work was bid out, a crew could handle the work in three or four days.
Officials said the pool also continues to leak. "I had to run probably a gallon of water every three minutes to keep it level," May said, saying that is why the city is having to deal with so much chemicals being used. "We do the best we can."
The mayor said he would hate to close the pool. "To tell the truth, I wouldn't trade it for two brand new ones," he said. Burrough noted its large size, while others noted its longevity.
At the same time, officials noted it is hard to get some work or funding on it, because others have said it needs to be brought up to code.
Anderson asked if the pool generated funds last year, and the mayor thought it generated $7,000 or $8,000. City Clerk Nanette Brown said the revenue doesn't cover payroll, but the city was able to purchase chemicals as needed along the summer. "We still cleared about $4,000," she said.
Herron said she is in talks with the Carbon Hill Women's Club about applying for grants over the next year or two for the pool and ballfields, especially due to some recreational bathroom issues. If park and recreation grants can't be obtained, she said perhaps historical grants could be obtained as it was a Works Progress Administration project from the Great Depression and is one of the oldest functioning pools in the state.
May said he understood the pool dates back to 1932.
However, he also said one problem with getting historical grants is that one cannot charge people then to make money. But Burroughs said if enough money came in the form of a grant, he would not mind letting admission be free. Herron said the only reason for charging now is to cover some of the cost, and Mark Chambers noted the splash pad has no admission fee.
Jason Chambers noted he had contacts that could help him to get am possible consultant to look at the pool. Mark Chambers said, "See if you can't get that arranged with somebody, and next meeting let's have a plan on it, on what can be done."
He also suggested a Go Fund Me page for the pool, which Herron said was worth looking at.
In other action Monday, the council:
• Purchased a $750 washing machine for the dispatch. At the recommendation of Fire Chief Buddy Smith, the old washing machine was given to the Fire Department to repair and use. The council also gave them permission to buy a new commercial washing machine if the old one couldn't be repaired.
District 2 Councilman Clarence Colbert was absent at the meeting.
• Heard that new mats had been installed at the city jail. The council agreed to throw away the old mats, at Smith's recommendation.
• Purchased four tires for the city's gray Dodge Charger for $400 from Poor Boy Auto.
• Heard Brown that she is getting up material for an audit.
• Heard Mark Chambers that the interstate lighting grant project was delayed a couple of weeks as initial drawings from the state were not correct to the actual intersection, requiring drawings to be redrawn. Officials plan to bid out the project.
• Heard the mayor said the new truck stop in the city is doing well, especially as a new sign was installed.