Overland Park & Leawood

With plan’s passage, pools’ future is cloudy

The fate of a few beloved neighborhood pools in Overland Park is one step closer to being sealed.

At its meeting Monday evening, the city council unanimously approved the city’s new parks master plan, which recommends the closure of Roe Pool within one to two years, Marty pool within three to five years and Bluejacket Pool within 10 years. It also recommends the city build three regional pools.

A few residents spoke up at the meeting to give one final plea to save their pools before the document was approved.

Overland Park resident Laura Adair pointed out that not everyone enjoys the hustle and bustle of large aquatic centers.

“Neighborhood pools are personal, quiet and relaxing,” she said during the public hearing. “By replacing them with regional pools, you’re going to make Overland Park seem very corporate. We have something special right now.”

A few members of the council openly sympathized with the pool supporters, but pointed out each neighborhood pool costs too much to fix.

“I wish we had money to replace existing neighborhood pools and provide neighborhood pools for more areas but that comes with a cost that is hard to bear in today’s economy,” said Councilman Curt Skoog.

In addition to the aquatics guidelines, the parks master plan outlines improvements to existing parks and trails, locations for new parks and suggestions for new amenities.

Although the council has approved the parks master plan, city staff emphasized the document is merely a set of recommendations and nothing in it is set in stone.

“This is simply a guide for future parks improvements,” said Keith Gooch, a senior planner for the city. “Not everything in it will be done. A lot of these recommendations — such as the pools — are going to require more in-depth study before action takes place.”