Rec Center to improve one of its pools

By: Jeremy Selweski | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published August 20, 2014

 The Macomb Township Recreation Center will spend $36,000 to resurface its rectangular “activity” pool in a couple weeks.

The Macomb Township Recreation Center will spend $36,000 to resurface its rectangular “activity” pool in a couple weeks.

File photo by Erin Sanchez

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Officials at the Macomb Township Recreation Center will make another important upgrade to the facility’s popular Aquatic Center as part of its next shutdown period the week after Labor Day.

At its Aug. 13 meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved a $36,000 request from the Parks and Recreation Department to resurface the rectangular “activity” pool. According to Aquatic Supervisor Permelia Gross, this upgrade will take place during the Aquatic Center’s next biannual shutdown from Sept. 2-7.

As Parks and Recreation Director Sal DiCaro explained, over time the marcite product on the activity pool surface has become pitted and rough. It became necessary to resurface the pool once the wear-and-tear on the product had reached the level where it could cause potential injury to users.

“We’ve been open for 10 years now and over 2 million visitors have come through these doors, so our pools have gotten a lot of use,” DiCaro said. “This resurfacing will enhance the experience of visiting the Aquatic Center. I think residents will definitely notice a positive difference when they return.”

DiCaro noted that Rec Center officials received two bids for the project ranging from $36,000 to $54,615. They ultimately recommended the low bidder, Advanced Pool Services, for the job.

According to Gross, “The company that was awarded this project will strip down the rough surfaces of the pool and re-coat it with fresh product. Patrons will notice the difference immediately, as the surface will be smooth. This same company resurfaced our ‘feature’ pool during the same time in 2012. We have been very happy with the results of that project and look forward to having smooth surfaces once again in the activity pool.”

DiCaro estimated that the Rec Center as a whole receives an average of 750 visitors per day, many of whom come specifically to use the pool area. The Aquatic Center is busiest during the summer, on weekends and at other times when kids are not in school, Gross said, but it is also widely used in the morning for adult swim sessions and in the evening during the winter months.

Temporarily closing down the facility is a necessary sacrifice for keeping it in good shape, she added. During these shutdowns, the staff empties all of the pools in order to check any valves, pumps, motors, pipes, filters, drains and other parts that can’t be checked when the pools are filled with water.

Most recently, in the spring, the Parks and Rec Department purchased parts to repair the play structure in the Aquatic Center’s feature pool, as well as a new 40-horsepower motor to be used in the activity pool. The department also replaced some of the interactive valves on the play structure and repainted the water slide, play structure and water curtain.

“Since opening in 2004, we have shut down twice a year to do maintenance on the Aquatic Center,” Gross explained. “We shut down the week after Labor Day and in the spring, typically at the end of April. During this time, we do projects that we are unable to do while the pool is open. Many projects done during these shutdowns are very routine with regard to operations and maintenance.”

Gross anticipated that the Aquatic Center would be ready to reopen on Monday, Sept. 8, at 6 a.m. However, she stressed that there would be no aquatic programs held that day.

“The temperature of the pool water will be cooler than normal, but swimmable for those looking for an adventure,” she said. “We will start our fall aquatic programs, including water aerobics and swim lessons, on Tuesday (Sept. 9) and Wednesday (Sept.10), giving the pool some time to heat up.”

In other Parks and Recreation news, the Board of Trustees approved a pair of additional requests made by DiCaro on Aug. 13:

The Parks and Rec Department reached an agreement to purchase pool chemicals through December 2015. After soliciting quotes, department officials received bids from two vendors that could meet their chemical needs. They opted to go with Aquatic Source for the purchase of chlorine and acid. The total cost of the chemicals was not available at press time, as DiCaro stated that it varies from year to year based on overall attendance at the Aquatic Center.

The department also made the decision to give pay raises to all of its part-time employees, a change that will coincide with the state of Michigan’s minimum wage increase on Sept. 1. On that date, compensation for Parks and Rec attendants will increase from $7.65 per hour to $8.15 per hour, while lifeguards will increase from $8.15 per hour to $8.65 per hour, front desk workers will increase from $8.65 per hour to $9.15 per hour, and assistants will increase from $11.15 per hour to $11.65 per hour. Some of these pay rates will continue to change along with the state minimum wage, which is set to increase to $9.25 per hour by 2018.