Benwood Not Ready To Dive Into Pool Project

City Leaders Rethink Plans for $800K Pool Project

Photo by Joselyn King Benwood Mayor Ed Kuca points out that one of the sliding boards at the city’s pool would have been eliminated under a former proposed plan for a new pool in Benwood. The design is now being changed.

Plans for an $800,000 pool project in Benwood are being redrawn after city council members determined the extended new pool would take out a sliding board, the nearby baby pool and much of the surrounding grassy area.

The Benwood Pool closed for the season Aug. 19, and construction on a new pool was to start the next day. It is expected the work now will take place over the winter, with the revamped pool being open by Memorial Day, according to Mayor Ed Kuca.

After hearing the concerns of council, engineers with the Burgess & Niple firm are eliminating from the project a proposed “zero entrance” into the pool that would have met requirements under the Americans With Disability Act. The “zero entrance” provides a gradual entry into the pool similar to walking from the beach into the ocean.

Council members and engineers determined this entry would have to extend past the baby pool into the grass near the pool, and the added area would prove too shallow and actually decrease usable space within the pool, Kuca explained.

A 48-inch wide ramp will instead be installed into the existing pool to meet ADA requirements, and there will be no need to dig up the pool’s floor, he said.

This should decrease the overall cost of the proposed $800,000 project, according to Kuca.

He said the actual price tag will be determined when the revised design is completed and is expected in the next few weeks.

Kuca said bids for the project are expected to go out in late October or early November, with work taking place over the winter.

Stainless steel plating will be placed along the sides of the pool, which will get a concrete floor. A new gutter system also will be installed, and existing boilers will be used to heat the pool.

“Everybody feels happier now,” Kuca said. “We will still have the diving boards and sliding boards located where are. We will have all new concrete decking.

“The baby pool will stay the same,” he said. “Everybody enjoys the baby pool with the water fountain. But it will still be like a new pool with steel sides and new gutter system.”

Benwood has received a $400,000, 50-percent matching grant from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Land and Water Conservation Fund to make major upgrades to the city’s pool. The pool was first opened in 1973.