A Change.org petition is asking Santa Fe city officials to invest funds for repairs at the now-shuttered Bicentennial Pool.
The petition, which had more than 220 signatures Tuesday evening, contends the city should ditch any potential plan to permanently close the 45-year-old pool, which is in need repairs to prevent leaks.
According to a city memo, the pool, if in use, would leak about 130,000 gallons of water a month. The City Council recently voted to keep Bicentennial, the city’s only outdoor pool, closed for the summer swim season until a comprehensive cost analysis could be provided.
City officials and members of the council have publicly talked about their desire for a cost-benefit analysis surrounding the future of Bicentennial and to potentially explore options to build a pool on the southwest side of town. City Council District 3, which encompasses the area, is the only one without a city-owned pool.
City spokesman Dave Herndon wrote in an email while the council has already weighed the issue, heard public comment and voted on the matter, “leadership is always open to hearing from the public.”
“If a councilor wanted to support and introduce a resolution, they could,” Herndon added. “There will be plenty of opportunity going forward for public comment and engagement on the next steps for creating much-needed recreation facilities for Santa Fe families for decades to come.”
The city has three open pools at Genoveva Chavez Community Center, Salvador Perez Recreation Center and Fort Marcy Recreation Complex. City officials have stated there is only enough staffing to open three pools regardless of Bicentennial Pool’s fate.
Mayor Alan Webber recently said the city would explore additional pool options for the summer, including partnering with private pools across the city.
The online petition was created by Eva Eklund, who could not be reached for comment.
In the petition statement, Eklund described the pool as an important part of the community and deserves an investment.
“Families need a safe place to swim and to teach their children how to swim,” Eklund wrote. “Please sign the petition and tell the city that investing in the pool is investing in the people of Santa Fe.”
The city opened Bicentennial Pool in the mid-1970s, but according to city documents, the facility has not received a major renovation since.
Public Works Department Director Regina Wheeler recently said minor repairs, estimated to stop 20 percent of the leakage, had been completed. But the estimate has not yet been tested.
One commenter on the petition, Dana Johnson, wrote “every American city should provide outdoor pools.”
Another, Deborah Tolar, requested the city fix Bicentennial and explore building other outdoor pools.
“I’m signing because kids and adults need a pool,” Tolar wrote. “In fact, build another outdoor pool or two!, and then repair this one. It is no virtue to not have this type of recreation.”