On Monday (September 28), San Diego's oldest community pool reopened to the public after getting the thumbs up from the County Department of Environmental Health on September 23.
The Bud Kearns Municipal Pool was originally supposed to open before summer after replacing the main drain line. It was discovered in February that the 83-year-old drain had become calcified, causing motors and impellers to burn out.
In mid-August, the community wanted to know when the pool would reopen. North Park resident Kathy Taylor took the lead in finding out. "It's very satisfying to think that my efforts may have contributed to moving this project along," Taylor said on September 26th. "I originally got involved for a personal reason — to get my son back in the pool participating in swim team. But once I got started, I realized how important this pool is to our community. Hundreds, at times more than a thousand people, viewed the Facebook page I set up to see progress reports and to share their frustration. It felt great to provide a service to our community."
The Phase I main-drain repair was delayed in part due to the contractor (California Commercial Pools) missing deadlines. In August, the city and County started working more closely with the contractor. On September 25th, Timothy Graham, a city PR officer, explained that splitting up the repair into smaller phases helped to expedite project completion and get the pool operational for public use.
Graham said upcoming Phase II pool repairs will involve removing the perimeter curb around the pool, restructuring the gutter system to re-circulate water, replacing wall inlets with bottom inlets and replacing the perimeter fence.
When asked if there were any plans to use California Commercial Pools for Phase II, Graham said, "No contractor has been chosen to do the work for Phase II as there is no funding source or timetable identified at this time."
Per Graham, the tentative plan is to keep the pool open through the high school water-polo season, which ends in the middle of February 2016. If the needed $1M funding for Phase II is available, work would start then with an estimated completion date of the beginning of summer 2016.
On September 25th, councilmember Todd Gloria commented, "I'm happy Bud Kearns Pool is finally open again. This is a tremendously well-used pool, and I know the community has missed it. More work will be necessary to keep it operating for the long term, but the completion of these repairs and it's reopening to the public are worth celebrating."
The Bud Kearns pool located on Morley Field Drive in North Park was the first publicly funded pool in San Diego. Opened on New Year’s Day in 1933, the pool is named after a former City of San Diego recreation director. It was planned by city park superintendent John Morley, the same Morley who oversaw the development of Balboa Park for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.