East Detroit board votes to open pool

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published September 23, 2015

 The pool features several lanes for swimming competitions.

The pool features several lanes for swimming competitions.

Photo by Sean Work

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EASTPOINTE — The East Detroit Board of Education voted 6-0 during its regular meeting Sept. 14 to reopen the East Detroit High School pool when administrators see fit.


The school district’s budget already included the cost of keeping the pool maintained and usable, so the district is not looking at any unexpected costs to do so. Financial consultant Mike Dixon said that the pool does need some repairs to the plumbing and cleaning before it can be used again. He estimated those could be done for less than $4,000.


In contrast, Dixon said draining the pool and closing it down — albeit temporarily — would cost an estimated $14,350. However, he said the district would save roughly $10,000 a month by not having to keep the pool operating, and felt that would be a reasonable choice until the district decides what to do with it.


“I think what you’re trying to do is the right thing,” Dixon said. “What we’ve got to work at is the use part of it, because there’s some real stumbling blocks at the use parts.”


The school currently does not offer swim classes, and while the pool has been used by the swim team, Superintendent Ryan McLeod said they have not had enough student interest to form one this year.


Board Vice President Charley Jackson, who made the initial motion, said that he would like to see the pool opened up for a potential swim club, as well as to the community for use. The only other public pool that was in the city — located in Kennedy Park — was demolished in the past.


“I think the pool is a great asset to the district, but also the community,” Jackson said. “I know when I was in school, there was an option for the community to swim after (school) hours; I like the idea of it being open and available to the community.”


Jackson supported discussing pool usage with the Recreation Authority of Roseville & Eastpointe, the YMCA and other interested recreation parties. He said an informal poll he did with people in the community suggested that residents are in favor of keeping the pool open and used in some capacity.


Dixon warned that RARE’s current budget does not have any money for lifeguards.


“Right now the stumbling block is the costs associated on the community use side; we can’t come close to breaking even,” Dixon said. “We do need to pursue those — it needs to stay open and used by the community — but we do need to make it a little bit easier to make that happen.”


The district also needs to decide if it wants to use the pool for swim classes or open swim as well, he added.


Jackson said he left his motion intentionally open-ended so that administrators can handle the details on when the pool gets opened and in what context.


“I want it open; I want students to be using it as soon as we can get a swim team together,” he said. “I don’t need to drill down to the hours and days of the week, because the administration can handle that.”


McLeod said that lifeguards would need to be present before he would allow students or the community to go to the pool. The district also just changed the locks to the pool area to prevent unauthorized usage.


Board President Craig Brozowski said that even if the district did close the pool temporarily, it would be stuck heating and maintaining the area without being able to do anything with the pool.


The school board passed a motion in July to drain the pool and close it due to the school district’s new insurance policy requiring it. The district has since found a different insurance carrier that does not require the pool to be closed.


Jackson said that if other members of the board would like to discuss the financial aspects of the pool, he would prefer that it still be opened for the school year to give members ample time to discuss and analyze the topic.


There was no timetable given on when the pool would be opened to students or members of the public.


Board Secretary Karren Borsa was absent from the meeting.

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