NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – On what would have been a nice evening for swimming, the pool at Niles’ Waddell Park was quiet — no water, no diving boards, no shade needed from the umbrellas. Residents say keeping it closed it is not an option.
A citizens group has formed to get the city’s swimming pool running again.
About 50 of its members laid the situation out and brainstormed solutions for a little over an hour Tuesday evening. Niles Councilwoman Linda Marchese and Service Director Ed Stredney were also there.
They went over the repairs that need to be made and whether the $67,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will cover the cost. The grant was awarded last year to pay for improvements at the pool and must be used by June 30 of next year.
One suggestion was to tie the pool into the Wellness Center next door, eliminating renovations to the pool house.
“My vision is to have things in our city that allow young families to come into our city and that people want to be in our city,” Al Cantola said.
Jim DePasquale — the recently-fired Niles Safety Service Director — said there was a plan in place last year to get the pool running.
“We had it pretty well-covered and the repairs would be inside $67,000 to do it.”
DePasquale said the Niles pool needs new bathrooms and lighting and that parts of the fence, deck, and roof need to be repaired. A water line also leaks between the main building and the deep end.
He said those are all easy fixes but the problem was finding $42,000 for lifeguards.
“We spend a lot of money on a lot of things. I personally thought we could come up with $42,000 for lifeguards.”
But the repairs were not made, no lifeguards were hired, and now for the fourth straight year, the Niles pool remains closed.
Since the grant is good for another year, the citizens group plans to work with the city to reopen the pool. Another meeting is planned for July 18.