October 23, 2021

Pool house plan in works

Grant received in 2016 but timing of project unknown

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

The Wickwire pool house in Suggett Park in Cortland, shown here Thursday, is expected to be overhauled with a $400,000 state grant, but the timing of the project is still being worked out.

Making it right
The Tuesday edition of the Cortland Standard gave incorrect information about planned renovations to the Wickwire pool house. John McNerney, director of the Cortland Youth Bureau, said funding for the project came from a grant that was announced in December 2016 and received in February 2017.

After spending nearly $1 million on renovations to Wickwire pool, another project worth more than $400,000 is now in the planning stage for the pool house.

While there is no set timeline and plans have not yet been finalized, renovation is still planned for the pool house structure first built in the 1940s.

A grant worth $407,586 was awarded in 2016 by the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to fund the renovation, said Cortland Youth Bureau Director John McNerney.

While the grant was awarded two years ago, the process to renovate the pool house is still in the early planning stages, McNerney said. But renovations are still planned. “We’re excited for that,” he said.

McNerney said the structure of the pool house, which was built in 1946, needs upgrades. “The structure itself is very old,” he said. “We need to bring it into ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) compliances.”

Through the renovations the city Youth Bureau plans to address a number of issues, including:

• Electrical equipment.
• Plumbing.
• Making the building look more appealing.

“We’re in the process of gathering information and putting together a contract,” McNerney said.

As part of the grant, the city would have to match 25 percent of the grant, about $100,000. McNerney said. McNerney said discussion regarding how the city plans to match have happened, but nothing definite has been said.

Next steps in the process include the city Common Council taking action, hiring an engineering firm and sending the project out to bid. McNerney said no set timeline has been made for those steps, but does believe city action will happen within the next month or so.

“Nothing is finalized right now,” McNerney said. A year and a half could pass before the project is complete, McNerney said. “Nothing will happen this summer.”

Residents were pleased when the renovation was announced, Mayor Brian Tobin said. “It’s a great community asset,” he said.

While the pool has been renovated, a cost around $989,000 in 2015, Tobin said people need a nice place to change. “We need an appropriate bath house,” he said.

The number of people the pool serves varies from year to year. McNerney said estimates range from 13,000 to 18,000. Last summer, however, an average of 500 to 600 people used the pool daily. The city charges no fee for use of the pool.

McNerney said city parks play a critical role for residents and having top notch facilities reflect the value of the parks.

The pool house improvements will follow a $989,000 project in 2015 and 2016 to rebuild the now 70-plus year old pool at Suggett Park off Homer Avenue. The new pool has an L-shaped design and includes a ramp and stair access into a new shallow area for easier accessibility for children and people with wheelchairs. It includes a walled-off play area and eight 25-yard lanes at the deeper end for swimming laps.

The Department of Public Works began demolishing the old pool in September 2015. The new pool opened in June 2016.

The city also has plans to renovate playgrounds at both Suggett and Beaudry parks in a pair of projects that total $500,000 in a state grant. Both playgrounds are expected to be complete this year.