A much-appreciated but deteriorating physical therapy pool in Overland Park will not be repaired or replaced, the City Council has decided.
Instead, the pool at the Matt Ross Community Center, 8101 Marty St., will be removed, and the city will install two saunas in its place.
The council Monday night unanimously voted to approve without changes the city’s 2016-2020 five-year financial plan, capital improvements program and maintenance program without changes. The 2016-2020 plans include $127.4 million in funding for capital projects and $83.9 million for maintenance projects.
Replacing the therapy pool would have cost about $300,000. The two saunas will cost $7,000.
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Dozens of devoted therapy pool users had fought to keep the pool since it shut down in December because of maintenance issues.
The 8-year-old Hydroworx pool, which features an underwater treadmill in water heated to 92 degrees, helped soothe a variety of ailments by relieving pressure on aching joints. Pool users ranged from elderly arthritis sufferers to injured teenage athletes.
It was the only therapy pool for public use in the Kansas City area.
The desperate group e-mailed council members, attended city meetings and reached out to media.
After residents made their arguments at the March 2 council meeting, the council discussed the possibility of issuing additional fees for those who needed to use the pool to make up the cost. The governing body then directed the community development committee to look over the financial details regarding the pool and come up with a recommendation.
After reviewing the proposed replacement of the pool on March 4, the committee unanimously recommended to the council that the maintenance program be approved without changes.
Most council members didn’t seem surprised by the outcome.
Councilman David White admitted he had hoped there was a way to save the pool, but after reviewing the numbers, it didn’t seem fiscally responsible.
“We can’t spend six figures on such a small number of people, no matter how badly they may need the pool,” he said. “There are 150,000 other people we need to focus on, too.”
Other council members agreed that keeping the one-of-a-kind pool wasn’t a good investment for the city.