Anna America always hoped the new Lacy Park swimming pool would open this summer, as scheduled but could never promise Tulsans it would.
Now she has. America, the city’s Parks and Recreation director, said last week that the pool will open no later than Saturday.
For too long, children have been looking through the construction fence surrounding the pool and saying, “Why is this pretty pool in there and I can’t swim in it?” America said. “So we wanted to give them what we can and let them get in there.”
The Lacy Park pool, 2134 N. Madison Place, was supposed to open with the city’s other public pools in the beginning of June. But the structure was built 3.5 inches below the elevation level set out in design plans.
That might not sound like a big difference, but it caused big problems.
At the lower elevation, the pool failed to meet grading standards set out by the state Health Department. The grading standards are intended to ensure that water that spills out of the pool does not flow back into it and that fluids from outside the pool don’t drain into it.
The lower elevation also left the pool in violation of access requirements under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
The city also tested the pool for possible leaks after minor cracks were found in the concrete structure. The tests found no seepage.
No public dollars were expended to restore the pool to its proper elevation. That was the responsibility of the general contractor, Magnum Construction, according to the city.
The $3.2 million project was originally scheduled to be completed in March.
Early this year, America said she did not expect the pool to open this summer. But when the repair work and inspection process went faster than expected, she decided to open it, if only for part of the summer.
“We really didn’t think it would be possible to open this summer,” America said. “So a big thumbs-up to the contractor and city engineering staff and parks staff and everybody who really tried to coordinate things to give the community at least part of the summer in this pool.”
She said she’s confident the public will be happy with what they see.
“I’ve been over there a bunch of times the last week,” America said Friday. “And every time I’m thinking, ‘I wish I could jump in.’ I mean, it looks really great. They (the public) are going to enjoy it.”
The Lacy Park pool was expected to have the same hours of operation as the pools at Reed and McClure parks, but America said that could change if the city cannot find enough life guards.
Anyone interested in applying to be a lifeguard can apply by going online to tulsaparks.com and clicking on “Employment Opportunity Job Board.” Questions can be addressed to Brandon Worley at firstname.lastname@example.org.