City looks at pool project

Officials plan second phase of improvements

GREENFIELD – A beach-like sloped entry into the pool. A water playground or slide. Personal cabanas.

City officials envision these family-friendly features and more, including shade structures and improvements to the aging parking lot and locker rooms, being added to Riley Pool by 2019 as part of the second phase of improvements to the Greenfield facility.

As the start of construction nears on the facility’s splash pad — a roughly $2 million project expected to be complete by next summer — superintendent Ellen Kuker has begun looking into the next stage of upgrades. Kuker said the pool, which was built in the early 1980s, needs work on its infrastructure, facilities and amenities in order to remain competitive among other pool complexes in the region.

Parks officials want to offer enticing features to local families so they don’t have to travel to other communities, Kuker said.

Kuker has begun having discussions with other city officials, including Mayor Chuck Fewell, to gauge their interest in making additional improvements to the Riley Pool after the splash pad project is done, she said.

“We want to position our community pool to serve this community for the next 15 to 20 years,” Kuker said.

Kuker plans to meet with city officials to find what options the parks department has for funding such a project. No cost estimates are available at this time, she said. Once Kuker knows she has support from city officials, she will hire a design firm for the second phase of pool improvements, she said.

She’s set an aggressive timeline. Kuker hopes to begin construction on the second phase by fall 2018, with a grand re-opening in the spring of 2019, she said.

City and parks officials have long debated pouring money into the pool. In 2005, a proposal to take out a $3.5 million bond narrowly passed the Greenfield City Council.

That project was to feature a new water park in the city complete with slides and a lazy river. Former Mayor Rodney Fleming vetoed it, saying the cost was too high for the city.

He pointed to a less costly splash pad idea contained within the city’s comprehensive plan; parks department officials added a splash pad to the department’s master plan in 2013.

Last year, city officials used $30,000 from the economic development income tax fund to hire Mader Design of Indianapolis for conceptual designs of the park. The firm asked the community, including its youngsters, what features they hoped to see at the new addition to the pool.

And parks board members want to continue that conversation.

“We will have a nice splash pad,” said board member Deby Low. “We’ve got to make sure our pool is nice, too.”

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Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.