Twenty-four-year old David Guerrero of Garden City spent his day off at the Big Pool last week. Guerrero loves being outdoors and when triple digits recently hit western Kansas, he and several others cooled off at the city’s Big Pool.
The 97-year-old landmark has been open every summer since its construction was completed in 1922.
But next year, at the end of the summer, the pool will close for good. And if major repairs are necessary during its final season, the pool could be shut down even sooner.
Guerrero doesn’t want to see the pool go.
“I think it's a bad idea. I feel like this should be open 24-7 — I don't think it should ever close,” Guerrero said.
Even after numerous repairs, the pool continues to lose 200,000 gallons of water per day — a total of 2.2 million gallons in the weeks it’s open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The water loss costs the city $1,000 per day.
But Garden City Commissioners voted to keep the pool open for the 2020 season at a July 16 meeting.
Last fall, Garden City Assistant City Manager Jennifer Cunningham spoke to more than 6,000 students and residents in Deerfield, Cimarron, Lakin and Holcomb about the future of the Big Pool. Garden City received three bids from companies with proposals based upon that public input.
In June and July, Garden City utility customers received the proposals and ranked them. Confluence, a Kansas City, Missouri firm, was selected and will begin working with the city on a new aquatics facility as soon as a contract is in place, according to Cunningham.
Adriana Robles, 25, has spent summers at the Big Pool since she was 9 and remembers when the pool was free. But she says she’s indifferent about the closure.
“ I mean, the way I see it as they're going to close it down — they're going to open something better,” Robles said.