City of Rifle hopes new pool will be open by September 2019
Rifle voters were asked in the Sept. 12 election whether to finance the construction of a new swimming pool complex, and in a resounding 753-317 vote the project was easily approved.
No new tax funding will be sought for the project, and any debt incurred will be paid out of existing sales and use tax revenues.
“It’s always nice to see a clear margin on a vote like this,” said Rifle Parks and Recreation Director Tom Whitmore. “It’s really nice to have an affirmative margin, because it shows as a community that we definitely support this.
“We’re just really excited about the project. The pool was a big thing when it was first built,” he added.
While the pool has served the Rifle community for decades, its infrastructure has become dated. Each of the newly elected Rifle City Council members indicated throughout the election that it was time for a renovation.
New Mayor Pro Tem Theresa Hamilton said that the pool’s infrastructure outlived its life span, and it no longer meets the needs of the community. New council member Joe Carpenter called the project a no-brainer.
Now that the design concept has been approved, Whitmore and the Parks and Recreation staff can move forward with design development, which he hopes to finalize in 2018.
Though council approved of the proposed plan, things can still change depending on cost.
“It could cost more money, in which case we could look for more funding or reduce the scope,” Whitmore said. “The general concept is what we are shooting for, but it’s just like any construction project.”
The design concept includes several new features, such as new buildings, an expanded deck surface area, a lazy river-bubble pit, a family whirlpool, tube and speeds slides and more. Whitmore said he hopes to include all of those features, depending on final costs.
Once finalized, council will approve of design development, which Whitmore estimated should be sometime next summer. He hopes to begin construction by September 2018, and to open Memorial Day weekend 2019.
He added that the current pool will remain open through Labor Day weekend 2018, after which construction on the new project will begin.
Though it appears the city is moving forward with the outdoor pool design, Whitmore made it clear that the door remains open for an indoor pool.
“We have to know what is going in and what the defined scope of the project is,” he explained. “The plan is for an outdoor pool, but the opportunity for an indoor pool is always there.”