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Photo by Diane Cox
Bethalto trustees voted unanimously to close the community pool permanently following an inspection that determined the amount of work needed to keep the pool functional would not be cost-effective for the residents.
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Photo by Diane Cox
Bethalto Police Chief Greg Smock welcomes Ryan Dugger as a new full-time police officer in Bethalto. Dugger, a 2003 Civic Memorial High School graduate, brings nearly a decade of experience as an officer and police chief from the Mount Olive Police Department.
BETHALTO — With a unanimous decision during the July 7 meeting, village trustees voted to permanently close the community pool after learning the laundry list of repairs or replacement cost that would be needed to keep the pool functional. Current plans for a new splash pad were voted to remain in place to provide a water attraction at the location.
“This was a very tough decision to make; there was a lot of pondering over this,” Mayor Alan Winslow said. “The bottom line is, we were looking at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars and the attendance at the pool has really dropped over the last several years. We could not justify spending that kind of money. We don’t want the kids to lose an aquatic location, so we’ve decided to continue with construction for the splash pad this year.”
The pool, at 325 E. Central St., was evaluated after the decision was made to temporarily close the facility this summer to make repairs. After examining the pool structure, it was determined groundwater was seeping into the pool around light fixtures, rebar was visible on the pool walls, and there were underground electrical issues.
“We lifted some of the concrete decking and were able to see the extremely poor condition of the plumbing,” Winslow said. “We found electrical wiring that was exposed and walls crumbling. There is just a whole list of things from the pool consultant. As much as we hate doing it, it’s just not feasible.”
Trustees discussed possible options for the area located in the footprint of the pool, including expanding the splash pad and possibly adding a feature such as a sand volleyball court.
“We will definitely do something with that area to keep it a recreational area,” Winslow said. “We’ve had the suggestion to add a new sport called paddleball. There is a lot of work that will have to be done in that area after removing the pool. We know a new recreational feature won’t be decided upon for at least a year.”
New police officer
Bethalto native Ryan Dugger was approved by trustees on July 7 to be the next full-time police officer. Village trustee Brady Dugger abstained from the vote during the approval process. Police Chief Gregory Smock said Ryan was a top candidate and was highly recommended.
“Ryan (Dugger) is bringing a lot of experience to our department and will be a fine officer for Bethalto,” Smock said. “He’s from Bethalto and knows the town and its people. He was a part of our Explorer program and has been a part-time officer for a while. He was an officer for Mount Olive for about eight years, too.”
Dugger, a 2003 Civic Memorial graduate, said he’s happy to be back in Bethalto and looking forward to the opportunity to serve the community he grew up in.
“It feels good to be back,” Dugger said. “It was a tough decision that was closely thought-out between my wife and I, and of course we had our kids to consider as well. I had been an officer for Mount Olive and worked my way into the position of police chief for that department. Coming back to Bethalto is coming home for me and we feel it’s the best decision for our family.”
Dugger will officially start on July 17 as a full-time police officer.