Under blue skies with temperatures in the low 80s, Kiwanis Pool on Douglass Street in Portland was a popular place to spend the afternoon Friday, Aug. 2. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

PORTLAND — Kiwanis Pool on Douglass Street has been a popular place to be during hot summer days. But Recreational Aquatic Manager Marie Davis said now it’s time to bring the aging pool into the 21st century.

A meeting is scheduled Aug. 15 to develop a master plan for Kiwanis Pool and determine what pool users would like to see offered, expanded or improved. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

On Aug. 15, George Deines, a project manager with Counsilman-Hunsaker, a St. Louis-based aquatic design, planning and engineering company, will meet with the public to hear what people would like to see added, expanded or improved at the pool. The session is scheduled from 5:30-7 p.m. at 212 Canco Road.

Davis said the pool, built in the early 1960s and partially funded by the local chapter of Kiwanis, lacks many of the modern luxuries found at outdoor pools across the country.

“Many of the pools you see these days have slides, climbing walls and lazy river types of functions. It’s much more than your typical L-shaped pool,” she said.

The pool, she said, has been updated and improved over the years and is heavily used for swim lessons, lap swims, open swims,  training and water aerobics. Davis said between 7,500 and 10,000 people, including 5,000 children, use the pool over the course of the summer.

Thanks to support from Kiwanis, children have been able to swim free in the pool this summer.

New heaters were added last year and a new filtration system was installed four years ago. A splash pad and a small playground were added about 15 years ago, for children who are too young or too small to swim in the main pool.

The Aug. 15 session, Davis said, will help determine improvements the public expects over the next 25 years, whether it’s expanded locker rooms, a snack bar, slides, pool illumination or other amenities to help make the pool more of an attraction.

So far there has been no funding allocated for improvements or changes.

“We need to go through this preliminary step to determine what the public’s pulse is,” Davis said. “It will be interesting to see what people want, versus what can be delivered.”

Heidi Miller, a resident of Nason’s Corner who was at the pool last Friday with her 8-year-old daughter, Lilly, said she enjoys coming to the pool, but wishes there was more time for open swim. Currently, open swim is held every day from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Until Aug. 2 open swim was also offered from 6-7:30 p.m.

“I have the summer off, so it isn’t an issue for me, but I know a lot of people who absolutely can’t come because of that (schedule),” Miller said.

Portland resident Mike Bove said he has bringing his children to the pool for 10 years and came here as a kid. The North Deering resident said he likes to ride his bike to the pool with his two children, 12 and 8.

“It is a great asset for the city,” Bove said.

Lucy Tumavicus, who lives nearby, said the pool offers a good balance between open swim, lap swim, lessons, water aerobics and swim training. The splash pad is a nice addition, she said, but she would like to see the locker rooms upgraded.

The pool attracts not just Portland residents. Pam Vose, a resident of Falmouth, was at the pool watching her two grandchildren swim.

“I think it is a great pool. If possible, I think there should be more of these. Swimming is an extremely basic skill kids should be able to access,” Vose said. She added she’s been impressed with the lifeguards during her visits, who “really get to know the kids.”

Nicole Whipkey, who has been a lifeguard at the pool for the last four summers, said she hopes an improved check-in system can be included in the master plan.

“Something we are looking forward to in the future is an online sign-in process. It is difficult to have the kids sign in. Sometimes they don’t put their name or fill in everything completely,” she said.

Using a computer or tablet would provide detailed information and a more efficient process, Whipkey said.

The meeting with Deines will focus on the Kiwanis pool, although Davis said discussions about ways to improve the city’s two 1970s-era indoor pools at Reiche Elementary School and the Riverton Community Center may be coming.


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