Local residents and officials have discussed the future of the Kendrick Park pool for quite some time. The pool was originally built in 1937 and is owned by the city. The facility operates at a loss nearly every year, primarily due to high maintenance costs.
In the last eight years, Associated Pool Builders out of Bismarck, North Dakota, provided a scope and summary of work needed for Kendrick Pool; a steering committee formed to determine the plausibility of rebuilding the outdoor pool at Kendrick Park; the Sheridan Recreation District conducted a survey regarding the possibility and community need for a new pool; TSP Architects completed an assessment of the pool; and multiple master plans regarding parks and recreation in the city have addressed aquatics needs in Sheridan. All of these efforts, combined, represent thousands of dollars in work.
Now, Interstate Engineering has been hired by the city of Sheridan for $88,100 to look at renovation and upgrade options for the community facility. A website outlines various design options that include a zero entry feature, climbing wall and a lazy river, among others. The website allows local residents to vote for their favorite features, their favorite overall design and provide comments.
Many of the options outlined have been discussed before. Many respondents have already — in past studies — expressed interest in the bells and whistles outlined in design concepts. But, nobody has had a chance to utilize the new facility being built at the Sheridan County YMCA, which could easily influence the answers those being surveyed provide. For example, the order in which pool features are prioritized may change when families have a chance to enjoy the indoor facility at the YMCA that may address some of those needs. Will city officials conduct yet another survey when that facility opens?
Much like the problem of ongoing maintenance bills, the issue nagging officials and aquatics enthusiasts remains how to fund the renovation of the Kendrick Park pool. Without funding in place, the current effort will likely be added to the stack of studies, hopes and dreams regarding the pool that currently sit in Sheridan City Hall.
Until funding is secured, the Sheridan County YMCA pool opens and unmet needs are determined, additional community surveys represent little more than a waste of time and money.
Editor’s note: This is the considered opinion of The Sheridan Press editorial board.