A recent aerial view of Elm Avenue Park’s pool complex shows the blue waters of the diving pool (top), but concern over its structural integrity has prompted its closure. Jim Franco / Spotlight News
BETHLEHEM — The Dive Pool at the town’s Elm Avenue Park pool complex will remain closed for the summer season after it was discovered earlier this spring that its structural integrity was compromised, according to Parks and Recreation Administrator Jason Gallo.
While the Dive Pool has been fenced up, the rest of the pool complex will open as scheduled from Wednesday, June 5 to September 2. Ever since the Dive Pool was originally built in 1973, not much structural work had been done in its last 46 years of operation. “We can maybe call it a relative success all this time but pools eventually need work that’s major,” he said.
Gallo said this past spring, the Dive Pool was found to have deteriorated concrete walls and water infiltration. Upon the removal of the linings and gutters, it was determined that more work and repairs were needed to improve the pool. Recommendations included the replacement of the concrete, the installation of an underdrain and the excavation of the areas just behind the pool’s walls. Repairs had been planned to take at least two months to complete.
It was originally estimated that had construction started early this summer, repairs could have been finished sometime in July if the weather cooperates and no further issues were found. But Gallo said that it was decided to leave the pool closed for the summer and postpone the construction until the fall, believing that this would best not negatively affect patrons’ experiences at or deter them away from the pool complex. “If we have an active construction zone while the other pools are open, it would impact the user experience so I felt it was best to delay the construction,” he said. A town release also noted that the delayed construction would prevent noise, dust and debris from affecting the patrons and other parts of the park, if construction is underway in the summer.
Gallo added that since “we are still not sure how pervasive the concrete features are in that pool, exactly how much and how long the repairs will be are still to be determined. But it will definitely be open for summer 2020.”
He brought up that depending on the true extent of the Dive Pool’s deteriorated state and how much repairs would be, there is a possibility of turning it into a new kind of pool or a different amenity like a picnic area. There is potential for the public to have a say in what the Dive Pool could become, if the situation arises, said Gallo.
The Learn-to-Swim Pool also had issues with its gutters, stairs and concrete deck but they have been repaired with modified supports for the gutters, the addition of grouts, installing code-compliant and improved stairs, and replacing sections of the deteriorated concrete deck. Such repairs have been completed, according to Gallo, by May so the pool is scheduled to open on Wednesday, June 5.
For more information, visit www.townofbethlehem.org/248/Pool-Complex.