June 23, 2011
Wickwire Pool set to open on Saturday
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Water from a hose fills Wickwire Pool Tuesday morning as lifeguards Geoff Peppel and Mike Hartnett touch up the trim with paint brushes. The Suggett Park pool opens at noon this Saturday.
With the Wickwire Pool opening Saturday and the Yaman Park beach already open, it is beginning to feel a little bit more like summer in Cortland.
“We’re excited about both of the facilities being open,” John McNerney, director of the Cortland Youth Bureau, said Wednesday. “It’s a sign summer has arrived.”
Wickwire Pool was being filled with water Wednesday, which takes over two days to complete.
Summer began Tuesday.
The aging pool has had to undergo patchwork to its shell again this year, which comes out of a budget line for beach repair and equipment for about $4,550.
Residents of Cortland and nearby towns have been swimming in Wickwire Pool since it opened in 1946, when prominent local industrialist Charles Wickwire donated a swimming pool to Suggett Park. It was described as “the largest and best equipped pool” in this region and one of the largest in the state.
At 11,250 square feet, it is larger than an Olympic-size pool.
Sixty-five years later, the pool is in need of a major renovation, including a new shell and filtration system.
An engineering study was done last year, McNerney said, which he hopes will help attract grant funding from organizations like the state Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation. He said he has applied for a $400,000 grant through that office.
McNerney said the total cost for the upgrades would likely be between $800,000 and $1 million.
“I hope in the near future we would have the funds to do that,” he said.
The city has discussed the possibility of charging a user fee over the years, but no official policy has come of it.
Over 12,000 people visited the pool last year, McNerney said.
The pool is open seven days a week from noon to 7 p.m., unless there is thunder and lightning or any other severe weather.
If there is enough interest, there is also adult swim from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The pool is open to anyone, and admission is free. It will close for the season Aug. 28.
The Yaman Park beach is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. It closes for the season Aug. 21.
Splash pools in Suggett and Beaudry Parks will also be open this year, from Monday to Aug. 19.
Due to budget cuts, the Dexter Park splash pool will be closed this summer.
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