Centennial Pool Closes After 50-plus Years of Service
Today is the last day you'll be able to swim at Centennial Pool, as it is officially closing after 51 years of service.
The pool, built in 1972, underwent a major renovation in 1997, and has now reached the end of its useful life.
Parks & Rec Executive Director Amy Epple noted that admission is free today.
“It's not fun to talk about something closing, but the time has come,” Epple said after a meeting of the Park Board Tuesday night. The meeting was moved up by a couple of days due to the Missouri State Fair starting Tuesday, which would have been the normal meeting time (second Thursday).
“We spent almost $40,000 more on Centennial this year, keeping it open, with pipes busting, getting new parts in, borrowing them from other parks departments. The water bill's been extremely high, with the leaks that we have underneath the pool, (which most people don't see),” Epple told KSIS.
In addition, the bath house on the men's side is “not doing well at all with the roof and everything just completely falling apart.”
Epple noted that the Park Board has been talking about the situation for a couple of years now, “and if you put $800,000 (which was one of the estimates given) into the pool for repairs, when you know you only have three or five more years left, it's just not worth it,” Epple said.
“So around five years ago, we did about $100,000 of repairs at Liberty Pool to keep that one going for five more years. But Centennial has reached its last 25 years. We've done the best we can to keep it open for this year, but the time has come for us to close the door. And we've been planning, we have money in reserve. There's not going to be a tax increase. We will take a loan out for (a new aquatic center) and make those payments. We have the money in our budget, and we've been planning properly for that,” Epple said.
She also noted that former Parks & Rec Director Mark Hewitt was the first pool manager for Centennial Pool, which was built in “72. In 1997, the pool was closed down for a major renovation. So the pool has a 50-plus year history in Sedalia.
The location for the new aquatic center is expected to be announced in a couple of weeks. Epple said she is waiting for “a couple more things to come through from the state.”
The new center will be bigger than either Centennial or Liberty, larger than NASIF in Warrensburg and a little bit smaller than Summit Waves in Lee's Summit.
“I think the location will be great, and there's room for us to grow down the road as well and add more features to the pool if Sedalia continues to grow as we see it,” Epple indicated.
“It's sad to see the pools close, but this new aquatic facility, people will love it and enjoy it, and there will be something there for all ages, it's not just for kids, it's for little ones all the way up to seniors.” Epple stressed.
Epple noted that her staff has been surveying pool goers for nearly 15 years, asking them what they would like to see at an aquatic center, and the number one answer was a “lazy river.”
So a lazy river with tubes will be one of the features at the new facility, Epple said, adding that she is big into stats and research, stating that she wanted to get input from people who actually use the pools regularly.