Holly Wendt, Crescent City’s director of recreation and events, has been on the job for only three months, but she’s quickly learned that one of her priorities is the Fred Endert Municipal Pool.
While fielding questions from the community about why the pool was closed Aug. 26-Sept. 9 for it’s annual “deep scrub,” Wendt needed to learn the pool’s history on the fly.
“It costs about $700,000 a year to run, and makes only between $300,000 and $400,000,” she said. “It’s a delicate dance. You want to make it affordable for patrons to use, but it’s a big project. Municipal pools or city-run pools don’t usually make money. It’s not uncommon.
“For those patrons who use it, it’s a huge deal (if they don’t) have access. I get more calls about the pool than any other portion of my job. People are so passionate about the pool.”
The first pool closure during Wendt’s tenure was unplanned. The pool had to be closed for two days in August because of a tiny chlorine leak in the rear pump room that needed repairing, Wendt said.
Although the pool gets regular cleaning and maintenance, it also gets an annual deep scrub. Wendt said no specific budget was set aside for the “deep scrub” – essentially, a cleanup of many behind-the-scene areas of the pool.
That recent cleanup involved many staff hours, lifeguards, volunteers, and Public Works staff, who fixed problems with air circulation in locker rooms; cleaned, scrubbed and painted the physical therapy room; and scrubbed and repainted the huge mural that encompasses the entire length of one wall.
The mural was painted in 2009 by a large community of volunteer artists. “The mural gets cleaned and scrubbed,” said Wendt, “because when grime gets on it over the years, with moisture and sweat that gets in the air and kids come in contact with it, the water pulls the paint up and off.
“They fix it, reseal it and repair it in sections.”
Also during the annual closure, the back storage rooms were cleaned and disinfected. One of the bigger projects, which didn’t get completed, was repainting the pool decks. Wendt said the paint didn’t arrive in time from Florida because of delays stemming from Hurricane Dorian.
The other incomplete project is the diving board, which is still closed. Wendt said she is working on getting it approved.
When the pool’s bottom slope was regraded in 2010, the diving board’s length became a safety issue - being too long, it produced too much spring to safely dive into the deep end of the pool.
“We’re looking for someone to ‘grandfather’ it in. It takes a pool architect with proper documentation to sign off on it. The county then verifies to the state that it’s within regulations.
“But the current county representative doesn’t have the professional capacity to grandfather it. He can only go by the codes as written.”
On the other hand, she said, “A really exciting thing that was done was the slide. It was repaired and we added supports. So, the slide is up and running for recreation swim and pool rentals.”
Wendt said those who use the pool, seven days a week, come from as far away as Brookings, Gasquet and Klamath.
With that, the pool needs more lifeguards, she said. The city needs a complement of 10, but there are only five right now because many of the summer lifeguards have returned to school.
So the city is hosting lifeguard training at end of this month. Wendt said there will be a certification process, written and in the water, and if hired, candidates will need to pass background tests to work for the city.
In addition, the swim team needs coaches a couple of times a week, Monday through Thursday, from 5-7 p.m. She asked those interested to check the city’s social media sites for pool updates.