BY COLIN MAGNUSON
Radio Keokuk News Director
KEOKUK – The Keokuk Aquatic Center has traditionally always opened its gates by Memorial Day at the latest. Regardless of how poor the spring weather, no matter how severe the rains; the pool has been available to the public before the biggest holiday of the spring.
This year, however, the City of Keokuk and the Aquatic Center Management are hustling to ensure that the summertime fun spot is ready to go in time for the approaching weekend festivities.
The reason for the late rush? Weather, but in a roundabout way. After the pool closed for the season last fall, the city approved of a $100,000 contract with SplashTacular Waterslides and Waterpark Attractions of Paola, Kansas to perform maintenance on the three slides at the Keokuk pool. The work includes recoating the inside and outside of the slides, recaulking the joints, and touching up the paint on the platform.
The delay began last fall when SplasTacular ran out of time before winter and had to cease work on the slides until the spring. Keokuk Public Works Director Mark Bousselot explained that the cold, rainy weather over the spring months throughout the midwest put the company behind schedule.
“So they were planning on coming back first thing in the spring, like everyone else there’s projects that need just maintenance….and they’re spread thin. So they were planning on being here say, the first week of May, last week of April. And obviously working outside the weather plays a factor in that so they got delayed on other projects, which delayed ours.”
SplashTacular arrived back in town late last week to assess what is left to be done at the Keokuk Aquatic Center. The plan is to have their full crew here throughout the week as Bousselot was told that there is about 5 full days of work left to be done.
One of the issues is that one of the slides that is being refinished hangs down near the water level and as such the pool cannot be filled with water until that particular slide is finished. Bousselot and the Aquatic Center maintenance team came up with a solution which calls for the pool maintenance team to fill up the pool to roughly the half-full point.
“I think our plan of attack is that… We got confirmation that we can get some water in that facility, which is gonna be enough for us to start running the pumps and make sure that we can get those running and there are no problems there. Then we’ll be able to start getting chlorine and chemicals regulated within that amount of water that is in the pool”
The plan will allow the pool employees to work through any problems that may occur with dewinterizing the pool that otherwise would not have been dealt with until SplashTacular completes their project late in the week.
According to Bousselot, the plan is to have the pool ready to go for the big weekend.