Rhonda Silence

County using COVID-19 downtime to repair YMCA pool

Maintenance of the swimming pool at the Cook County Community YMCA falls under the jurisdiction of the Cook County Maintenance Department. Every two years, the pool at the YMCA is drained, inspected and cleaned. That work is being done earlier this year, as the YMCA is closed under the COVID-19 “Stay at Home MN” order.

When the pool was drained this month, small holes that had been becoming apparent were inspected and it was determined that intensive repairs needed to be made. According to Interim County Administrator Rena Rogers, apparently when the pool was first constructed, it was not sealed and painted.

The heated water and chlorine in the natatorium created weak spots in the skim coating on the bottom and sides of the pool.

The county maintenance department and local contractors completed the work, grinding down the corroded spots, refilling them, sealing and painting the pool. The sealer and paint to keep the pool cleaner and to prevent further erosion cost the county approximately $3,100.

That expense is balanced, said Rogers, by the county’s decision not to refill the 110,000-gallon pool while the YMCA is closed. Not paying water and utility costs results in a county savings of approximately $5,000 a month.

Noting that the swimming pool is just seven years old, WTIP asked Rogers if the county had any sort of warranty, especially because the pool had not been sealed properly. Rogers said unfortunately not. She said contracts had been finalized and the company that served as the county’s owner representative had no further liability.

Rogers stressed that those problems are in the past and that the county is working to strengthen its relationship with all of the partners in the operation of the YMCA—the county, the City of Grand Marais, School District 166 and the Duluth Area YMCA.

For a more in-depth discussion of the swimming pool repairs, WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with Rogers. Here is their conversation.