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Gas City pool readying for summer

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SPRING UPDATE: Brent Miller, vice president of the park's board, chats about renovations at the Gas City Swimming Pool. The pool expects to open around Memorial Day weekend.
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NEW ROOF: The newly built roof at the Gas City Swimming Pool. The previous roof, which was nearly 50 years old, leaked water and damaged the building's interior. The new roof was extended to create a patio area for pool-goers to picnic underneath.

By Clay Winowiecki - cwinowiecki@chronicle-tribune.com

GAS CITY — The Gas City Swimming Pool recently received a new roof and has more renovations planned as the weather turns warm. 

The community pool's building, which was built in 1971, has had the same roof since its inception, causing park staff to battle water leaks which have damaged aspects of the structure’s interior such as the bathrooms.

The new roof now stretches over the pool's patio and provides a shaded area visitors can use to take refuge from the sun. Weather permitting the pool expects to open around Memorial Day weekend.

"It had a flat roof on it and it has leaked as far back as I can remember," said Jim Richards, president of the park's board. "Every year at this time of year we'd have to decide what we're going to do with the pool, if we're going to keep it running or (close it down)."

Now thanks to the new roof the park can focus on renovating the building’s interior such as the bathrooms and concessions.

Once upon a time the pool attracted as many as 60,000 people throughout the summer, and while numbers today are lower due to some Gas City residents owning their own pools, the pool still holds an important place in the community.

"This is a benefit to the community and obviously you're not going to make any money off of these things," Richards said. "Some people can't get out of town very far and most people don't have pools."

According to Richards, the new roof cost $30,000-$40,000, but would have cost much more if they had to hire outside contractors.

The funding has come from a mix of donations and the park’s budget, since the pool is unable to turn a profit from ticket sales and concessions which barely cover the cost of pool staff and chemicals.

Intermittently since October city workers have worked on the roof and installed new lights during their downtime.

"If it wasn't for our city workers coming through and helping this wouldn't have been possible," said Brent Miller, vice president of the park's board. "That's one of the awesome things about Gas City is the community comes together."

According to Miller, this is the first "big step" to improve the pool. 

On Thursday, the park is hosting a tenderloin fundraiser with concessions donated by Monroe's Concessions. All proceeds from the fundraiser go to continued renovations.

The fundraiser is taking place at Hontz Hall in Gas City Park from 3:30-7 p.m. Adult tickets are $8 and child tickets are $4. Carry-outs are available.

“We're aiming to try to get enough money to finish the bathrooms,” Miller said. “In the past the pool has never really made money. That's not the function of this pool in this community. It's really about the quality of life thing in this community for the kids who don't have pools. This is going to cost us money, but it's worth it."