FAQ Pool Closing
FAQ’s – Regarding the Proposed Closing of the Urbandale Public Swimming Pool
At its meeting on June 17, 2020, the Urbandale Parks and Recreation Commission approved the staff’s recommendation to permanently close the Urbandale Indoor Swimming Pool. This recommendation was considered by the City Council at its Tuesday, June 30, 2020 meeting and tabled to Tuesday, July 28, 2020, allow time for community feedback. For more information on the recommendation, visit the City Council web portal to read the letter regarding the pool closure.
Is the recommendation to close the pool caused by the COVID pandemic?
Yes, the COVID pandemic has fast-forwarded discussions concerning the closure of the pool. Due to COVID-19, the City closed the pool on March 16, 2020. The pool was then drained to perform general maintenance and to reduce costs for heating the water and pool chemicals.
The City has been discussing the inevitable closing of the pool since 2008. If the pool were to re-open, the effects of COVID would impact future programming. Fewer patrons would be allowed in programs and open swim due to social distancing requirements, resulting in less revenue and an even greater subsidy required for the pool.
Why is Urbandale considering closing the pool?
The indoor swimming pool was built in 1976 (44 years old) and requires significant maintenance to keep it operational and safe. This has led to significant operational deficits, averaging $300,000 subsidies per year. For example, the annual operating budget for 2019 was $572,000 and revenues of $292,000.
In addition, the pool is owned by the City and the land is owned by the Urbandale Community School District. This arrangement was negotiated in 1976 and expires in 2026. This pool at this location was only a 50-year agreement, with the knowledge that a new facility and location would be needed in the future to serve the growing community.
Will I be refunded for any credit I have at the pool, or value on my annual pool pass?
All patrons who have a credit on their account at the pool would be refunded. Annual pass holders would be refunded the pro-rated unused value of their pool pass.
Where can I go to get swim lessons, water aerobics, lap swim?
The City is actively pursuing partnerships with other aquatic facilities in the area to provide aquatic programming for Urbandale residents.
We are optimistic these alternatives for swim lessons would be available this summer, and for water aerobics and lap swim by fall 2020. Open swim options are anticipated to be available later, depending on the restrictions that may still be enforced due to COVID-19.
What is the status of a new facility?
It is clear that at some point in the future, a new facility would be needed if aquatics are going to continue to be offered as a City amenity. What exactly that looks like is yet to be determined and will include future resident input. The process for moving forward with designing a new aquatic facility and securing voter approval is in process and would be continued when the current COVID-19 pandemic situation settles and the economy is more favorable.
Will the City consider building something else at this location?
- The pool is located on Urbandale Community School District (UCSD) property, and the City would not be able to construct a new facility at this site.
- When the facility was constructed the City and UCSD entered into a 50 year 28E Lease Agreement, which expires in 2026.
- As per the agreement, either party can initiate the closing of the pool prior to 2026.