It would appear that the days of the Toledo Municipal Swimming Pool are numbered. The pool has fallen into a perfect storm. The last recession, which lasted so long it should have been called a depression, hammered the city of Toledo’s piggy bank so hard it could barely keep supporting police, fire, streets, sewer and water and a street light or two. It was pretty tough.
The economy is coming back but all that deferred maintenance around town from 2008 through about 2014 or ’15 has come home to roost and there are some serious rpairs that need to be done, not the least of which is the pool. But the trouble with the pool is that it’s old. Really old – and it’s pipes, pumps and filtration systems, along with electrical and lights and the roof especially, are in bad shape. The roof is so creaky and battered that the pool has to be shut down when the wind blows too hard or it rains or snows too much. In addition, it costs over $250,000 a year just to run the place which is forcing the city to draw down what savings it has in the bank. It’s estimated that the pool will literally push the city into the red within a few years if the pool isn’t closed.
City officials say the cost to upgrade the pool to where it could be reasonably safe is upwards of $3 Million. But even then you would still be left with an old pool. A new pool would cost around $5 million. Toledo doesn’t have that kind of money. Again, just operating the pool costs a quarter million a year while revenues from admissions total maybe $40,000.
One idea kicked around by citizens and the council was to spread the cost of replacing the pool over a larger populated area than just the Toledo city limits. People from all over the region use the pool – not just those who live inside Toledo. So there’s an equity issue in the mix as well.
But forming a special “region-wide” Toledo Regional Recreation District would require more people paying higher property taxes. Those added tax dollars would go to build a new pool and maybe some other recreation facilities – maybe something more useful or versatile than what currently exists at the current Memorial Field just off the downtown.
But either way the current Toledo Pool appears doomed. The council is expecting to get a report from City Manager Jay Baughman on a closing and decommissioning schedule at the next city council meeting. However, the idea of a regional recreation district is still being kicked around. We’ll see if it gets any traction.