The Natatorium is a historical building in the city. As a piece of our history, it shares a value in this community.
© Times-Herald photo by Lisa Goudy
The future of the Natatorium building is still unknown, but a June 12, 2013 engineering study reveals the pool area is able to have a floor.
The indoor pool, once vibrant, has been closed for more than 10 years. In 1932, the indoor pool was first constructed. An estimated 100,000 people used to come to the pool in its prime.
The pool was closed in 1996, but the mechanical room is still used for the Phyllis Dewar Outdoor Pool. The outdoor pool is leaking. There has been a lot of talk about what to do with the Natatorium, but nothing has been decided, only delayed decisions.
Council approved repairing structural shoring in the Natatorium with a budget of $30,000. This was not included in the original budget and it is only a temporary solution at best.
If something isnât decided soon, the building will close and be no more. We need to do something with this piece of history. But if no one is willing to come up with a suitable and viable plan, itâs only a matter of time before it closes. That would be a shame.
An engineering study from Kontzamanis Graumann Smith MacMillan Inc. (KGS Group) showed the Natatorium pool area could hold a floor. That opens up an array of possibilities for what the building could do. Those options wouldnât necessarily be cheap and some might say itâs better spent on something else in the city.
While itâs true that our roads and our water lines need more funding and our infrastructure is crumbling around us, itâs also true that we canât sacrifice all of our history to make that happen.
It will not be cheap with so many repairs needed and redevelopment. Maybe a partnership is the best option moving forward. There could be many possibilities, but, as with our infrastructure, time is running out.
History is important and irreplaceable. The Natatorium defines a part of this community but itâs in dire straits. It needs work or, for safety reasons, itâll have to close and a piece of our history would close with it.
All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.