SEARCY, Ark. (KTHV) - After years of costly repairs and upkeep, the Searcy pool will close at the end of the summer. It will leave residents without a community pool for the first time in nearly 50 years.
The closure doesn't come as a surprise to a lot of Searcy residents that their only community pool is closing at the end of the summer. Several said it's more of a helpless feeling because all efforts to raise money for a new community pool have failed.
The Searcy Municipal Pool has seen better days and most agree it's time for it to close. It's cold, it's leaky, and it's going into retirement. Sixty thousand gallons of water are leaking out of the pool every day, and chlorine costs top $12,000 for the summer.
"It's well beyond its life expectancy, and for it to be fixed, it would cost too much money for that even to be feasible," explained pool manager Chad Price.
"I've been working for probably 20 years for Searcy to realize that we need a new swimming pool, so it was no surprise to me." added J.D. Yingling with the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. JD Yingling was a member of Searcy's first ever swim team in 1972. He said, while he'd like to see the town keep a public pool, it's a funding issue. "I think the only answer is to come up with some type of sales tax earmarked specifically for a swimming pool."
The Searcy Sharks swim team also practices at the facility. Swimmers on that team compete in AAU meets all over the region.
"She wants to swim in college, and this is basically the only place that she has to train. Basically if they shut it down, we may have to go somewhere else to let her train," said parent Becky McGuirt.
Looking at the bigger picture, the city said the lack of a community pool could have a major impact on economic growth and new business in Searcy. The closure will also have an impact on jobs in Searcy. About 20 lifeguards and pool staff are hired every summer, so they will now have to look elsewhere for employment.