SYRACUSE — The Syracuse Village Council voted unanimously to start the process of deeding the London Pool and its property to the county..
During the council meeting on Thursday night, County Commissioners Randy Smith and Jimmy Will said they would be interested in owning the pool, which would potentially open opportunities for grant money. Smith said after the last meeting, he reached out to members of the community Pool Steering Committee. Smith said the commissioners “unofficially agree” to own and fund the pool. It’s “unofficial” because council needed to agree on giving up the property before the commissioners can vote on the issue.
By deeding the pool, part of the parking lot and the property to the county, this would relieve the Village of Syracuse of all physical and financial responsibility.
The Pool Steering Committee President Betty Hoschar and other members said if council does not commit to giving the property to the county, the committee will take no further action in trying to obtain funds to fix the pool.
A representative from Pool People, of Pomeroy, spoke to council and the more than 20 others in attendance about their findings in the pressure tests. The company completed the test at no charge to the village and found 14 leaks on the suction lines. To repair these, pieces of the concrete would need to be removed. The first step to fixing the pool surface would be to remove the fiberglass, which would cost around $7,500. The Pool People said it is a possibility that they could remove the fiberglass, clean up the original concrete floor, then paint on a new lining. This was estimated to cost around $80,000. Depending on the options chosen to fix the pool surface, the Pool People said it cold cost around $104,000 to add a new fiberglass lining.
The pool has been closed since the end of the 2017 season, it’s 40th year of operation. Structural concerns prompted the closure for the 2018 season, with the issues with the lining and other concerns keeping it closed this year.
Smith said if they county obtained the property, every effort would be exhausted to open the pool for the 2020 season, but he cannot make any guarantees.
Smith said the pool would be marketed as a county-wide public pool, because it would be owned by the county and not the Village of Syracuse. To help promote this as such, the county would set up a board of trustees to oversee the operations of the pool. The board would be made up of elected officials containing at least one person from the county’s largest township and one from the county’s largest village.
Smith said the property would have to be owned by the county and not leased. If it were leased, the contract could only be for five years and the Village of Syracuse would still control the finances.
Village Solicitor Rick Hedges and the Meigs County Prosecutor James Stanley will be working together to draft an appropriate deed, survey lines, etc. Council asked what would happen if the county no longer wanted the property at some point. Smith said the property would be offered back to the Village of Syracuse.
Council member Barry McCoy said, “It sounds like a solution to me.”
Smith said the commissioners understand the pool is likely not to make money, but their goal is to have the finances break even each year. The Pool Steering Committee also ensured the pool will remain named the London Pool.
More on Thursday’s council meeting will appear in an upcoming edition of The Daily Sentinel.
Kayla Hawthorne is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.