Auburn’s only outdoor pool is closed this summer, to the frustration of many in the community. They fear it’ll never open again.
More than 1,000 people have already signed an online petition to keep the Eckhart Park pool open. They believe the city should have done a better job of upkeeping it, before things got to this point. This is the first time in more than 50 years it won’t be open for the summer.
Family man Matthew Souder said this is a big hit on summer fun.
“We’re a family that likes the water and my six-year-old son has gone down the waterslide numerous times,” he said. “He’s gone off the diving board. He’s learned how to swim here through the swim lessons. I mean this is a gigantic area for the public and we just need to keep it.”
City officials have discussed closing down the pool for a few years, suggesting that people either go to the city’s YMCA or the community pool in Garrett instead.
“They say our pool’s a lost cause,” Souder explained. “They say that things are falling apart. Things aren’t working right. It comes down to basically they don’t want to pay anymore for it. They’re the ones that ran it to the ground. They did very minimal upkeep of the pool, causing it to get this way currently with the pool deck and with the pool pumps. If they would have done what they needed to do update-wise we wouldn’t be in this situation right now.”
Last week, The Auburn Board of Public Works voted to sell off some of the pool’s equipment such as the slide, picnic tables, and the chlorination system.
City Councilman Mike Walter believes this spells further doom for the pool.
“We had no discussion of this at city council,” he said. “It blindsided people. We knew that there were decisions that were going to have to be made but that kind of decision is pretty much determinative if it goes through.”
He believes even if the pool is losing money, there may be other solutions.
“You do have to look at the business aspects of things,” he said. “At the same time, we provide public services because people want them. I think we need to take off our green eye shade sometimes and listen to what people want.”
NewsChannel 15 is awaiting a comment from Auburn’s mayor, Norman Yoder, on the pool. He will be at an Auburn city council meeting this Tuesday at 6 p.m., where this issue will be discussed.