558 N. Main St., Prineville, OR 97754 | (541) 447-6205
The spool that holds the pool covers, shown here, has become unusable, prompting the Parks and Recreation District to purchase a new one.
Last week, the Crook County Parks and Recreation District found itself in a financial bind that was going to require community help.
However, an incorrect supplies delivery has changed that situation for the better.
On Tuesday, May 14, Parks and Recreation District Director Maureen Booher asked the Prineville City Council for money from its discretionary fund to help pay for some replacement pool equipment.
She said that the spool used to hold the swimming pool covers has become unusable and was even to blame for a serious accident suffered by a member of the staff.
“The one we have now is a 25-foot spool that three full tarps go on, so it’s very heavy, it’s very awkward, and it’s very hard to turn,” she said. “We have band-aided it. We have repaired it. It’s to a point I can’t use it anymore.”
To ensure the pool would open this summer, Booher ordered the replacement spool, an approximately $7,500 expense that consumed a large chunk of their annual $9,000 pool budget.
In addition, the District had to spend an additional $2,000 to repair the facility’s domestic boiler, and they have to paint the plaster inside the pool, which will cost another $5,000.
“It is very, very rough and the kids are cutting their feet when they swim in the pool,” Booher said of the current pool surface.
Since the combined expenses of $14,500 exceeded the pool budget by $5,500, Booher sought financial assistance to make up the difference. Had the District failed to collect private donations and the Council declined to provide funding, Parks and Recreation would have faced a worst-case scenario where they would have to take the money away from the parks and grounds budget.
Now, they don’t face such a daunting challenge, thanks to an incorrect paint color delivery. Booher had ordered the approximately $5,000 worth of white paint for the pool surface in order to receive it in time to apply before opening the facility. This past weekend she got the paint — but it was blue.
Consequently, they will not paint the pool surface this summer, and Booher plans to send the paint back, recuperating $5,000 in the process. The additional funds will enable them to purchase the pool cover spool without the need for additional help.
This results in good news for both Parks and Recreation and the City Council. When Booher requested help from the Council, it drew mixed emotions.
“I do not want to lose the pool for the summer for all of our kids in the community, because I think they need something to do,” said Councilor Gail Merritt. “Kids need swimming lessons.”
Councilor Jack Seley called the pool a community asset and Councilor Steve Uffelman similarly branded it a community need.
Nevertheless, the Council was reluctant to pledge discretionary funds.
Councilor Jason Carr felt it would be difficult to explain to citizens why the City of Prineville was providing financial assistance to Parks and Recreation, which is its own taxing district. He therefore said he would prefer that Booher ask for private donations from the community first and then come back to the Council to match whatever they offered.
Councilor Dean Noyes agreed, saying he “would definitely like to see the community step up first.”
Now, the Council is not faced with such a tough decision and the Parks and Recreation District will still get their spool.
“We will be going back to the City Council and telling them that we won’t need their help after all,” Booher concluded.