'Save our pool': Marshall White users lobby to fix, keep community facility open

Wednesday , March 28, 2018 - 6:15 PM2 comments

OGDEN — Those who use the pool at the Marshall White Center are used to clamoring on its behalf.

Years back, there was talk of closing it, said Julia Aldrich, a water aerobics instructor at the city-owned facility. Proponents stepped forward, pushing to save it. It survived, but with the recent discovery of cracks at the bottom of the pool — which prompted its closure earlier this month — Aldrich and others are again raising their voices, calling on city leaders to fix the pool.

“It’s really, really important for the seniors and they’re willing to fight for it,” Aldrich said.

RELATED: Nearly 50-year-old Marshall White Center swimming pool closed indefinitely

She and numerous others voiced their worries at the Ogden City Council meeting on Tuesday, receiving assurances from Mayor Mike Caldwell that no plans are afoot to fill in the pool, a concern for some. Experts are still trying to diagnose the problem, Caldwell said, and officials aren’t yet sure what the next step is.

“There’s not been a single conversation about what to do with that pool,” he told them Tuesday. “Let’s find out what we know, then we can make a decision.”

Councilman Luis Lopez expressed support for fixing the pool or maybe even replacing it. “Maybe this is an opportunity we can take to improve the facilities,” he said.

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According to a post Wednesday on the Ogden City Council Facebook page, though, any plan of action will take time.

“The mayor and his staff are working hard to determine whether there are options for repairing the 50-year-old pool. Engineers are evaluating the pool’s construction and supporting infrastructure, and contractors will be providing estimates for repair or replacement,” the post reads. “Unfortunately, this will take time so we ask for your patience.”

And Aldrich and others are closely monitoring things. “There’s a lot of fear,” she said after Tuesday’s meeting.

Many who spoke out on behalf of the pool wore large yellow buttons reading “Save Our Pool.” Some cited the water aerobics and swimming offerings, but many also noted the kayak lessons offered there, saying they not only teach kayaking skills but convey the import of stewardship of waterways here.

Officials at the Marshall White Center discovered the cracks in the pool earlier this month after noticing an unexpected dip in the water level. They closed the pool on March 6 and experts are still investigating the cause.

Meantime, according to the Ogden City Council post, the city has coordinated with Ben Lomond High School to host some of the activities that had taken place at the Marshall White pool. There are also swimming options at Ogden High School.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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