Rifle celebrates the past, looks to future with new pool design
With the chatter of children playing in the background and screams of laughter filling the warm summer air at Rifle’s Art Dague Pool, the Parks and Recreation Department unveiled the final plans for the renovation of the municipal pool.
“This is going to be the new pool — that’s legit,” said one young patron as he walked by the new images of the pool project with his mother before heading in for some fun in the sun last Saturday.
“These images represent the project now. They include depictions as close as we can approximate to the color we are going to have and all the features that are going to be in the pool,” said Tom Whitmore, Rifle parks and recreation director.
Whitmore planned the release of the images around the 50th anniversary of the pool — remembering the heritage of the pool over the last half-century, and announcing the plan for the renovation project that will carry the historic venue into the future.
The renovation project total is a little over $8 million currently, he said.
“We hope not to exceed that, as long as no changes come about during the project,” Whitmore said.
“The original Rifle pool in the metro park district was built in 1969,” he said. “I believe they had a 1968 bond issue for $90,000. We are kind of excited to unveil these (new plans).”
The last day the pool will be open to the public this summer will be Aug. 9. Whitmore said there will be a ground breaking that same day between the pool and the police department.
“On the 12th, we will begin the demo process. As soon as we get our share of the partial demo done, the general contractor will mobilize in and start the overall project,” Whitmore said.
long time coming
Many members of Rifle City Council were on hand last weekend during the unveiling, including Mayor Barbara Clifton.
“The pool is obviously one of the most used amenities in Rifle, and one of the things we consistently hear in our surveys and comments from people is it’s packed and it needs to be upgraded,” Clifton said.
Clifton said the reaction she has heard so far has been really positive and people are really excited.
“I think once they actually see these images they are going to be so much more excited. I think a lot of people weren’t sure if the slide was going to stay; is there gong to be play structure,” Clifton said.
City Councilor Joe Elliott, a life-long resident of Rifle, is excited for the change as well.
“It’s really funny, because the older I get the smaller the original pool gets. You drive by it and we have so many people in it, we really had to do something to accommodate the population growth,” Elliott said.
Elliott said that when the pool was built 50 years ago, Rifle’s population was only 2,200 people. That number is now over 9,700.
“It is really undersized for what we have. It is time to replace it,” Elliott said.
FCI Constructors, Inc., out of Grand Junction, is to be the general contractor; FCI is also currently working on E Dene Moore Care Center on Fifth Street.
The existing bathhouse, the slide and its connecting pool along with a few shade structures will remain after demolition.
“The slide was just re-gel coated a year ago. It’s a newer part of the pool, an improvement during the metro park era, when it was added in the mid ’90s,” Whitmore said.
“We are remodeling and adding an equipment room to the bathhouse, extending it out to the south. Everything else is going to be new,” Whitmore said.
With the renovation, the city focused on adding as much water for people as possible.
“We are more than double the capacity that we have currently, with 65 percent more water and more deck space,” Whitmore said.
There is to be a new lap pool with six lanes. The current pool has four lanes. And, the lap pool is to include a diving board on the deep end and a climbing wall on the other end. According to the plans, the wall will arch out over the water so kids can climb it and fall back into the water.
There is also to be a new zero-depth entry pool, with an aquatic play structure. The new area is designed to be easier for little children to get in and utilize the space.
A flow channel is also to be attached to the zero-depth pool, which will have an induced current.
The new design incorporates a lot of shaded areas, bringing in more umbrellas and shade structures. There will also be grass areas within the pool fence for patrons to relax on, per the construction plans.
Originally, the city had hoped for a slide complex, but it wasn’t economically feasible at this time. City Council may decide to add on later, Whitmore said.
For Mayor Pro Tem Theresa Hamilton, it has been a challenging, drawn-out process trying to put together a plan to have more space and function with the limited resources.
“I love all the comments and the work our people have put together with this plan that is going to stay within our means,” Hamilton said. “I’m excited about the whole thing. It has been a long time coming, and when we break ground it is going to be so awesome.”
Whitmore said the working plan is to have full construction starting this fall. The plan is to open on Memorial Day weekend 2020.
“We have a lot to do. We will have to deal with winter weather, but we didn’t want to close for a season and not have this amenity for our citizens and pool employees,” Whitmore said.
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