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New Castle declines swimming pool offer

By KEVIN GREEN - kgreen@thecouriertimes.com

The City of New Castle won’t be operating a second public swimming pool this summer.

As was reported in The Courier-Times, a group of residents on the city’s southwest side known as the Blue River Pool Association recently offered to give a swimming pool and the roughly 0.5-acre tract of land on which it sits to the city.

The pool, located at the intersection of South Spiceland Road and Sleepy Hollow Lane, was not open for business the last couple summers and all indications are it won’t be open this summer, either.

“We already have a community pool that we really only use about six weeks out of the year,” New Castle Parks Board President Patty Broyles said at that organization’s last meeting. “With staffing, maintenance and then insurance, is this really what we need to get into since we already have such a large, nice pool?”

Parks board vice president David Nantz responded by saying he thought it was “a great offer,” but that the board already has a lot on its plate.

“It would be a major undertaking, because it (the pool) needs some maintenance,” Nantz said.

It was previously noted by an audience member who lives near the pool that it needs as much as $300,000 in repairs. Parks board president Patty Broyles also said the property tax bill for the pool is $1,000 annually, and money for upkeep and maintenance of existing park assets is tight.

An unidentified member of the group making the pool offer said those involved attempted to raise funds needed to repair and operate the pool but were unsuccessful.

“We just didn’t know what to do with it, and we don’t have any money,” she said. “We were lucky to come up with enough money to pay the taxes.”

The board voted to decline the offer.

“We really appreciate the opportunity, but financially it’s just more of a burden than we can take on,” New Castle Mayor Greg York said. “I hate to see the pool go by the wayside, but public pools are just financially losing propositions in Indiana.”

It’s not clear what will become of the pool or the related property. Broyles suggested filling it in and selling the lot, but those involved indicated they don’t have the funds to do that.

In other parks board news, Broyles reminded those present about the city-sponsored Easter egg hunt at 1 p.m. March 31. Related activities are expected to begin at noon and continue until 2 p.m. in the New Castle Fieldhouse parking lot just west of Baker Park.

City parks are scheduled to open for the season the morning of April 2.

The Aquatics Center at Baker Park is scheduled to open May 25.

The parks board will next meet at 5:30 p.m. April 2 in council chambers on the second floor of the municipal building, 227 N. Main St., New Castle.