Area pool renovations to offer easier accessibility

Communities make changes to meet new ADA standards

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While the City Park Pool in Iowa City just opened its newly renovated facilities to the public on Saturday, several other communities are looking to begin renovations of their own.

The city of Lisbon is planning to close their pool around mid August to begin construction to replace the existing wading pool area. At the same time, the cities of Guttenberg and Cascade are still in discussions as to what changes will be made to their own public pools.

Several new standards applying to pool accessibility were introduced in 2010 to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. These new standards have meant that adjustments to many local area pools has been needed.

“Basically, our current wading pool doesn't meet those regulations as far as accessibility to the pool itself and then there's no zero depth entry to the pool,” said Ryan Pranschke, director of Lisbon Parks and Recreation. “That's something we'll be able to address with the new facility.”

Pranschke said that the city hopes to begin renovations to the facility in the early fall.

The city of Iowa City has taken the need for pool adjustments to meet ADA standards as an opportunity to make other upgrades to the facility as well.

“The main piece we had done was the wading pool area,” said Matthew Eckhardt, the aquatics director for Iowa City, who explained that the wading pool was the area that did not meet new ADA standards before the renovations. On top of that, renovations were also made to virtually double the size of the deck and a new picnic area was built inside of the pool's gated area.

Eckhardt said that the pool can see anywhere from 800 to 1200 visitors a day, and up to 20,000 visitors in a summer depending on weather conditions.

“It's been a process that we've gone through and it will be well worth the wait,” said Eckhardt, who was excited for the public to get to see and use the upgrades to the pool upon its opening. Eckhardt said that the pool was originally supposed to open on May 24, but construction was set back due to this past year's harsh winter.

Altogether, Eckhardt said that cost of renovations to the Iowa City City Park Pool totaled around $650,000. Eckhardt said that he did not want to speak on behalf of the other local areas, but would assume that many are looking at pool renovations due to the changes in ADA standards.

Guttenberg and Cascade are set to continue discussions on any possible changes to their facilities at upcoming city meetings.

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