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Construction at the Carrie Matthews Recreation Center continues. The city is spending almost $597,000 for the new pool and water-play features.
Daily photo by Gary Lloyd
Construction at the Carrie Matthews Recreation Center continues. The city is spending almost $597,000 for the new pool and water-play features.

Cooler days at Carrie Matthews
Crews finishing work on new pool at Northwest Decatur recreation center

By Paul Huggins
phuggins@decaturdaily.com · 340-2395

Children entering the Carrie Matthews Recreation Center generally have one question on their minds these days.

“When’s it going to open? When’s it going open?”

That’s what Suzanne Langdon, assistant supervisor, said she keeps hearing from youths in anticipation of the center’s new pool.

The target date is June 1, less than two weeks away.

Michael Mann, superintendent for the contractor, Burleson Master Pools, said it’s getting real close, but he’s unsure when it will be complete.

On Friday, crews were finishing installation of the stainless steel gutters.

On Monday, Mann said, they would begin grout work around gutters and begin laying black tile for the six lane markers. He also expects to start pouring concrete for the deck around the pool this coming week.

After the tile is in place, he said, crews could start pouring the plaster (1 inch thick) to cover the rest of the pool surface. If the new fence around the pool is up when the plaster dries, the last thing to do is pour in 125,216 gallons of water.

The city is spending almost $597,000 for the new pool and water-play features. Decatur Parks and Recreation will pay for it with help from the city’s $16.2 million bond issue. The pool is part of six parks benefiting from nearly $5 million in additions and renovations this year.

The renovated pool replaces one built in 1971. It featured an aluminum bottom and sides, and when it sprang leaks, it was expensive to repair.

The new one is all concrete and plaster with stainless steel gutters.

What matters most to children, especially younger ones who don’t swim well, is that it features a splash pad similar to the one that opened at Delano Park last summer.

“You’re seeing less diving pools and more of this kind of thing,” Mann said of the splash pad.

It will feature a rain castle, which resembles an upside-down umbrella, water arches and jet bars.

Unlike Delano, it will not be a level surface but part of a sloping entrance into the main pool, much like the beach.

The pool is 25 yards long and has six lanes for competition meets. It’s 5 feet at its deepest level and 4 feet at the ends.

Though the smaller children are excited about the splash pad, Langdon said some older youths have said they’re not happy they won’t have diving boards anymore.

Carrie Matthews Supervisor Suzette Dye said Parks and Recreation hasn’t decided whether it will add activities to the pool. She expects The Arc of Morgan County, Boys and Girls Club, and Camp Safe Haven summer day camps to use it regularly as in the past. And public swim time probably will remain from 1 to 4:45 p.m.

Pool admission is $1 for children 6 to 11 and $2 for anyone 12 and older. Children 5 and younger get in free with an adult.

Dye expects a good crowd when it opens and probably throughout the summer because new facilities always generate positive interest.

“I think it will bring a lot of people in,” she said.

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