Membership meeting set for Briarwood Pool future March 23 at St. James

The future of a popular summer destination on the Northside could be decided at a meeting this week.

Friends of the Briarwood Pool are hosting a membership meeting on Thursday, March 23, at St. James Episcopal Church.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m., and be open to the public. However, in order to vote, attendees will have to pay $25 to become a Friends member.

The group will be discussing its plans to lease the pool from the YMCA, about a year after the group closed their Deville fitness center.

Friends President Wilson Carroll said there is definitely a sense of urgency, especially if the pool is to open around Memorial Day. The pool’s season typically runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

“We’ve got to have a couple hundred families step up and pay for the opportunity to swim there,” he said. “The pool will not open without the support.”

The Y had planned to close the pool for the year, citing increased operating costs. However, the Friends have agreed to lease the facility, with the hopes of again opening it in late May.

“The Y will lease the pool to us and we will be responsible for running it. Part of what we have to do is come up with a budget,” Carroll said.

He expects it will take between $35,000 and $40,000 to run the facility during the summer months. He believes the funds could be raised through membership dues, donations and other fund-raising efforts.

Some of that money would be set aside in a rainy day fund, Carroll said. “We want to have enough in the bank to handle emergencies, like if a pump goes out.

“Two things we need are new roofs on the pool house and the pavilion,” he said. “We need $10,000 just to address those. You can drive by and see the shingles that have fallen off.”

He said funds are needed now, in large part, because deferring the maintenance will increase repair costs in the future. “You can only defer maintenance for so long. Plus, it will look better and people will be more excited about spending time there.”

The challenges seem daunting, but Carroll believes there is “tremendous support” for the pool. “Three years ago, the Y announced that it was closing the pool. We formed the Friends and we would raise money for capital expenses if the Y continued to pay for operation expenses, like sewer and water,” he said.

“We raised $30,000, which was used to update electrical wiring, sewer and plumbing, and to buy a new pool pump,” he said. “Those were some deferred maintenance issues.”

Other improvements have also been made over the years. Among upgrades, the Y purchased and installed swimming pool skimmers, which keep leaves and other debris out of the pool’s pump. The association also installed new playground equipment.

“It’s in much better shape than it was (nine years ago), thanks to the Y, volunteers and Friends of the Briarwood Pool,” Carroll said.

The Y took ownership of the pool in 2008. As part of the agreement, the Y agreed to pay off the pool’s debt, as well as bring in new staff and offer new services, such as senior water aerobics, at the facility.

Under the new agreement, the Y will continue to pay for the pool’s water and sewer service, and insurance.

For more information, log on to the Friends of the Briarwood Pool’s Facebook page.



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