LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) — This Memorial Day weekend, pools across the Valley will open for the season.
So how do communities boost the bottom line on a budget?
One Lisbon council member has a unique idea. It’s pretty simple actually.
Joe Morenz is installing a solar-powered heating system. It will save the village of Lisbon thousands of dollars compared to a gas boiler. He wants to heat up the water and revenue with free energy from Mother Nature.
Because even when the sun is shining, the water is still a little too cold for comfort.
“Kids at 8 o’clock in the morning don’t want to get in an ice-cold pool. So it’s not profitable for us if we don’t make some changes,” said Dana Blackburn.
Blackburn is in her first year as Lisbon Parks and Pool Director and a heating source is a top priority.
“Weather keeps people away, cold water keeps people away. And if you can’t come and enjoy it, why come?” Blackburn asked.
That got Joe Morenz thinking. The Lisbon Village council member decided to create his own system, based on ones used for home pools.
“Anybody that’s ever had a hose just laying in their yard and picked it up and sprayed water on their hand, knows that water heats up. Now you’re putting that up on a roof and a roof always gets hot and you’ve got black pipe. I’m sure it’s going to work,” Morenz said.
And this solar solution is cheap.
“Energy from the sun is important, especially at a commercial pool,” Blackburn said.
A $300 donation and $200 from the village paid for the pipe and mounting materials.
“The black pipe only costs 27 cents a square foot so we can get 1,000 feet for $270,” Morenz said.
Morenz will coil it on top of the pool house and connect it into the pump house
“We’ll be able to turn it off and turn it on. We can store the water in the pipe for the day if it’s beautiful out all day,” Blackburn said.
Right now the water is 69 degrees. But Blackburn hopes the solar heating system will boost the water temperature to 86 or above every day. It’s a small investment to drum up more revenue and offset the cost of operations.
“If it made a couple thousand dollar difference, it would just be great,” Morenz said.
“Heating the water is going to bring more people in. We’ll be able to open our pool earlier, we’ll be able to keep our pool open later,” Blackburn said.
Morenz will install the system Saturday and the pool will open for the season on Monday.
If you want to check out how well the pipes are working, Ignite the Village is coming up next month. The free festival will include an open house highlighting water activities this summer.
“That’s a great time to come check out our swimming lessons, our swim team, all our adult water classes. Our free hour every day from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. is senior swim and that is open to the public,” Blackburn said.
The event is June 7 at the park from noon to 11 p.m. It is free and will include crafts, food vendors and family activities. Guests can also buy luminarias. They will be lit and float on the pool water at night.
Reported by Erika Thomas