Byrnes Pool Damage Worse than Thought; Won’t Open this Summer

The damaged Byrnes Park swimming pool in Waterloo is no longer expected to open this season.     Contractors hired in March to repair a leak under the pool’s deep discovered the problem is much more significant than originally expected.   A giant frost boil under the aluminum pool is swallowing up earth and rock, jeopardizing the integrity of the pool walls around it.

Mark Gallagher, recreation services manager, said the city no longer expects the fix can be completed in time to open this year.     Chester Pool Systems, of New Albany, Ind., is looking at other repair options for the pool the company originally built in 1981. One option involves making the 12-foot deep end three feet shallower.     Another issue is deciding how much is reasonable to spend repairing the pool, which is well past its useful lifespan.

The city is currently evaluating a public referendum on an estimated $12 million plan to build a new multi-featured pool and aquatic center at Byrnes Park and replace the Gates Park pool, which is also starting to fail, with a large spray park.     Gallagher said the city has been issuing refunds for those who bought season passes at the pool. There has been a slight uptick in attendance at the Gates Park pool and Cedar Valley SportsPlex pool, which opened up more public swimming time due to the Byrnes situation.Even if Byrnes could have been repaired before the end of the season, Gallagher questioned whether enough staff would be available.