Blackfoot to hold public "Town Hall" meeting on pool

Mayor Marc Carroll talking about repairs to the pool at the February City Council meetingSwimmers enjoying the Blackfoot Pool on Monday afternoon. The Blackfoot Pool will be the topic of discussion at an open town hall meeting Thursday, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Nuart Theater.The Blackfoot Pool will be the topic of discussion at an open town hall meeting Thursday, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Nuart Theater.
Catie Clark

The City of Blackfoot will hold an open "town hall" meeting on the swimming pool on Thursday, March 22, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Nuart Theater, at 192 N. Broadway.
"We need to hear from the people of Blackfoot," Mayor Marc Carroll said. "Blackfoot needs to come to a decision about what to do about the pool."
At the February City Council meeting, a decision on the pool was postponed until the City could clarify whether closing the pool would endanger Blackfoot's eligibility for federal funding. Because the pool was originally built using money from a grant from the National Park Service (NPS), there are federal regulations that apply to the building and its use. Because of the wording of those government regulations, closing the facility could cause the loss of some or all federal funding to the City in a worst case scenario. The Mayor wanted time to research the issue before making a recommendation on the fate of the pool.
"We talked to the federal and state grant manager for Idaho and we now have a much better handle on the conversion issue," Carroll said. "We found out we're not the only community in Idaho with this problem. There are negative consequences for closing the pool but they aren't as dire as they first appeared."
If the City closed with pool without converting the property to an equivalent use or alternative outdoor recreational use acceptable to the NPS, then the City would not be eligible to receive any more NPS moneys. Most other federal moneys should not be affected.
The City has addressed all the immediate problems that might impact patron safety. The pool will remain open and operating as normal until the end of the current fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2018. The City has spent about $30,000 eliminating overhead, electrical and other hazards at the facility.
Items left needing repair or replacement at the pool are now the ones with larger price tags, namely the pool liner, the deck and the ceiling.
Some of the possible options for the pool including doing nothing, closing it and losing access to NPS funds, putting one or more bond measures on the ballot for voters to fund pool repairs, or replacing the facility. The estimated cost of a new pool is around $8 million.