Fairway’s 1950s-era municipal pool is getting a makeover that will add amenities but retain the cozy, neighborhood feel, city officials say.
Soon after the annual Labor Day “Pull the Plug” party on Sept. 1, work should begin to replace the old baby pool and bathhouse with new state-of-the-art facilities and to replace the concrete pool deck. The area surrounding the pool will grow with the addition of a former home lot immediately north of the current complex.
The $2 million project was made possible May 31 when 74 percent of voters in “the City of Trees” approved via mail ballot a nearly $4 million bond issue. The remainder of the bond funds will be used to upgrade Fairway’s public works facility.
“When we first proposed this, the two things we heard from residents were, ‘Don’t hurt the big oak tree on the grounds,’ and ‘Don’t lose the neighborhood feel of the Fairway pool,’” said Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Nogelmeier. “Every pool in Johnson County has its own flavor, and ours has been a neighborhood pool. It’s great for families with young kids. You can stand anywhere and see the entire complex. It was our intent to maintain that feeling … and I think we have accomplished that.”
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The current baby pool, Nogelmeier said, has a raised edge that is a tripping hazard and a steel gutter that presents a slipping hazard. The new baby pool will be joined to the northwest corner of the existing pool and have a zero-entry feature to eliminate the old hazards.
The current bathhouse, also built with the pool in 1957, will be torn down.
“It is a cinder-block building with plumbing that needed to be drained annually,” Nogelmeier said. “It was built to accommodate 250 people daily, and on a good day in the summer we get 350 to 400 a day, so it took a beating. We did some cosmetic improvements … in 2008, hoping to get another five or six years out of it.”
Nogelmeier said the city drew up a master plan for the pool and adjoining Neale Peterson Park in 2004 and updated it in 2011. At that time, the city replaced the pool’s filtration system, purchasing a system that could handle the envisioned baby-pool addition.
The new wading pool and grassy area alongside it, plus part of the expanded bathhouse, will go on the former site of a home that the owner sold to the Johnson County Park and Recreation Department in 2008. The department has now deeded it to Fairway.
“The owner of the property approached us in 2008, wanting to sell, but the city was not in a position to acquire the land,” Nogelmeier said. “We were aware that Johnson County parks had a program whereby it would purchase property and lease it back to the city because of a lack of green space in the northern part of the county … for $1 a year for 25 years. The property has been empty the last five or six years. The city was responsible for tearing down the house and maintaining the land for this purpose.”
Nogelmeier said the new bathhouse would be built in two sections. The northern half will be an upgraded bathhouse, with the addition of two family changing rooms to the current configuration. The southern half will house a multipurpose room for pool parties and meetings, plus a new and larger snack bar. In between the two halves will be a breezeway, allowing patrons to enter the pool without having to go through the bathhouse, as they do now. A shade structure will be attached to the new bathhouse, too.
“It’s going to feel like a new facility,” Nogelmeier said.
He said the new complex should be ready for the 2015 swim season.
“We’ve called in our bid documents for substantial completion by May 15,” Nogelmeier said.