Santa Fe to be without an outdoor public pool this summer - Albuquerque Journal

Santa Fe to be without an outdoor public pool this summer

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – For some Santa Feans, it may prove difficult to beat the heat this summer.

The Santa Fe City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to close Bicentennial Pool – the only outdoor public pool in the city – for the summer while it undergoes repairs.

Councilors said conditions at the pool had deteriorated so much over its 45-year lifespan that it was no longer usable in its current state.

“It’s probably time we think about the assessment of this particular pool and whether it’s outlived its usefulness,” Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler said. “My opinion is that it has.”

The city does operate two other indoor pools, but one is out of commission because the Salvador Perez Recreation Center is undergoing renovation.

There are outdoor pools at apartment complexes, private clubs and hotels, but those are not readily available to the public.

In past years, Bicentennial Pool has come under fire for leaking significant amounts of water, around 130,000 gallons a month, according to city estimates. Critics said that it was irresponsible for the city to continuously fill the pool during an extreme drought to replace leaking water.

Santa Fe County, along with most of New Mexico, has faced extreme drought conditions for much of the past year, stressing water supplies in many areas.

Public Works Director Regina Wheeler said the city has made repairs to prevent leakage, but it’s unclear how much of an impact the work is having.

While the city maintains multiple pools, none of the others is outdoors or are available for general use by the public. Acting recreation director Gino Rinaldi said the city has had difficulty finding enough lifeguards to staff pools during the season.

Still, councilors noted the lack of a public outdoor pool could have a significant impact on local residents, with temperatures continuing to rise.

Mayor Alan Webber, who is running for reelection, said in a campaign statement that the closure presents the city with an opportunity to provide residents with a state-of-the-art facility.

“For 45 years, Bicentennial Pool has been a favorite of our families – but, for 45 years, the city hasn’t invested in upgrading or maintaining the pool,” the statement reads. “The work of evaluating how we design a new outdoor facility and where we would site it needs to begin immediately.”

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