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July 30, 2021

Soledad swimming pool in need of repairs

Recreation district asks for community help in fundraising effort

SOLEDAD — Community members are being asked by the Soledad-Mission Recreation District to help in getting the city’s pool restored.

The current amount being sought for repairs to the pool and filter system is $85,000, after prior fundraising and state grants put funding in place for the rest of the $285,000 total.

“It’s disintegrating at a more and more rapid rate the longer we let it go,” said Frances Bengtson, the recreation director.

The pool has a fiberglass finish, which hasn’t been redone since the 1990s. Bengtson said fiberglass pools should last 30 to 40 years before they degrade, but the Soledad pool may have had problems with its finishing near the stairway and shallow end, resulting in a shorter lifespan.

“What they suspect happened is when they sprayed the fiberglass in the ’90s, either the sprayer was clogged or not spraying consistently,” Bengtson said. “We’ve had large pieces of fiberglass flake up.”

For the past five years, the pool has had repairs in the form of patches applied underwater. There are regular inspections for damage spots, as well, since a piece of fiberglass can not only be painful, but dangerous.

“That’s one of our priorities is a safe experience,” Bengtson said. “We haven’t had any injuries due to that.”

Merely refinishing the pool was estimated to have taken $200,000, but Bengtson said the recreation department would like to replace the tiles as well as install more deck dividers and bring the pool up to code. Replacing the filter is also in the plans.

“Our GoFundMe also includes a new filtration system since we’ve been working with the original filtration system and that’s extremely inefficient,” Bengtson said. “It’s difficult to find people who can service it.”

Upgrading the locker rooms, however, is not part of the plans for now.

Bengtson said the last time the pool had a major renovation was in 2008, when the outer pool building was replaced. Other projects have included the wading pool refinish with a grant from Mission Ranches and fixing the plumbing.

“We all understand the pandemic has really strapped our communities, but there are some companies that have done really well,” Bengtson said.

She noted the pool is a community asset, explaining senior citizens have called in about water aerobics.

“It’s the only form of exercise that their bodies will allow them to participate in, the low impact water exercise,” said Bengtson, adding that the local swim team also uses the pool.

The pool itself is currently closed, as it is considered an indoor facility and must wait for when the state pandemic guidelines allow for gyms to reopen.

For now, the main means of raising money is the GoFundMe page, which is at $2,195 out of the $85,000 needed, as of March 1. Information about the fundraiser can be found on the district’s Facebook page.

Sean Roney
Sean Roney is the reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.

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