(By Brandon Hansen/Chewelah Independent)
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After a presentation by mayoral candidate Bob Belknap and local businesswoman Debbie Akers, the Chewelah City Council voted unanimously to place a two-year moratorium on demolishing the city’s swimming pool with the understanding that a local group would form to further study the condition of the facility and develop a plan to rehabilitate it at no cost to the city. The council’s decision was followed by a loud round of applause from the large group that had gathered at the meeting in support of the pool.
In his comments, Belknap gave the council a brief history of the swimming pool along with findings from engineer Mike Leisch, which concluded that the shell of the pool is in “sound” condition and that needed repairs to the mechanical systems could be made by volunteers working with the guidance of Leisch.
Leisch previously worked 17 years for the city of Oakland where he, among many other duties, maintained and repaired six pools in that city.
“[Leisch’s] initial findings concur with the Pool World assessment that the shell is in sound condition. He asserts that the leaks can be repaired and, given his experience and skill set, he goes further, stating that the repairs could be made by almost any labor force, including volunteers, with the requisite knowledge base, which he is willing to spend time helping the community acquire,” Belknap said to the council. A 2013 report to the city from Pool World of Spokane had estimated that repair costs could be as much as $400,000, which led to the city’s decision to shutter the pool at that time. More