Merriam residents get chance to weigh in on future of city’s pool, community center; both in need of repair

The original community center building dates to 1911 and was the first school in Merriam.
The original community center building dates to 1911 and was the first school in Merriam.

Both of Merriam’s top recreational assets – the Merriam Aquatic Center and the Irene B. French Community Center – need help. Tuesday, residents get to weigh in on what the future should look like for each of the facilities.

Past assessments of the physical condition of each site have revealed critical deficiencies that need to be corrected in the not too distant future. Before Tuesday’s community meeting, residents can tour each of the facilities to get a better picture of where they stand now. The tours will start at 5:30 p.m. and the meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the community center.

No decision has been made about the choice between remodel or rebuild, said Anna Slocum, the city’s parks and recreation director. What residents will be asked Tuesday, she said, are what kinds of amenities they want would want to see included in the pool and community center when they are revamped – whatever form that might take.

The input will follow a presentation by the consultants working with the city who will give an update on the process and the condition of the facilities.

Not only did the previous assessments show problems at both sites, but Slocum said it has been “a really bad year for structural damage.”

“Just in the past week we lost another chiller which caused some damage,” she said. Sometimes the degradation isn’t visible to people using the facilities, she added.

Links to the previous reports on the pool and community center can be found here.

More information about the Tuesday meeting can be found here.

The gym in the community center, which has had flooring replaced, was part of a 1930s addition.
The gym in the community center, which has had flooring replaced, was part of a 1930s addition.