By Christopher Tenpenny
Having to close the Harrisonville Aquatic Center the entire 2020 season due to COVID-19, left many residents disappointed and members of the Harrisonville Park Board frustrated. But things will be much different in 2021 as the board has announced major repairs and upgrades to the pool which will open this summer.
In a prepared statement, the board announced it has partnered with Waters Edge Aquatic Design to create a pool experience much like those featured in water parks. The new renovations will include a split entry in the zero-depth area, the installation of a splash pad with fountains, spray features and a new slide on one side of the zero-depth area, a rock-climbing wall in place of one of the diving boards, substantial repairs to the open and closed water slides and new large umbrellas.
Parks and Recreation Department Director Grant Purkey said he thinks people will be excited about the features.
“After having to close the outdoor pool last season, we wanted to give the community something to be excited about,” Purkey said. “We didn’t want people coming to the same old pool.”
Of the new features to be installed, the splash pad is seemingly one of the most exciting additions. There have been talks of adding a splash pad at the community center, but when the plans to repair and renovate the outdoor pool came up, the board thought it would be a good idea to include the fun feature.
“Having a splash pad, it opens up the outdoor pool for kids who aren’t quite comfortable with getting in the water,” Purkey said. “They will be able to play and have a good time without having to actually get into the water.”
Purkey said the park board is still discussing adding a pad at the community center, but no timetable has been set.
The opening date for the outdoor pool remains in limbo, although it is certain it will not be open by Memorial Day. The board released a rough timeline on the process of repairing the pool.
Construction is set to begin later this spring. The pool is getting new concrete which cannot be completed during the winter. City staff expects work on the project to last approximately 20 weeks, with 18 weeks being the best-case scenario.
In the statement Purkey said, “The safety of our community is the top priority of every city department and the Parks and Rec Department is no different. While we want to have the pool open as a place for people to come and relax and have fun, we need to make sure they will be safe while they are here and without these improvements, that just is not the case.”
The repairs will address key public safety concerns, such as repouring the floor of the pool to remove hollow pieces in the floor caused by leaking water from cracks in the floor. If the floor above these hollow pieces were to break, it is possible that water could be quickly sucked down under the floor of the pool and possibly lead to injury or worse for those swimming in the area.
The renovation will also level out the pool deck at the zero-depth area, which has settled by several inches in some locations causing a serious trip hazard for those entering the pool.