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City seeks help rethinking park poolsPosted at 4:30 p.m. May 28
Missoula Parks and Recreation worker Todd Pennell takes a swing at a chlorine-corroded bolt in an effort to replace an aging diving board at McCormick Pool Wednesday. Repairs this spring have allowed the pool to open at least two more years, but city officials say it's reached the end of its useful life. ROB CHANEY/Missoulian

Decades of chlorine corrosion have frozen the bolts holding down McCormick Swimming Pool's diving board. Cracks in its bottom draw off thousands of gallons of water. Even with major repairs this spring, the pool has just a few more years of useful life.

The same is true for all the city's splash ponds, wading pools and other aquatic facilities. To get ahead of the problem, volunteers are asked to join an Aquatics Task Force to envision new water recreation resources.

"We know this pool is coming to the end of its life cycle," Missoula Parks and Recreation Director Donna Gaukler said Tuesday. "We don't want to wait until it's way too late to look to the future of the pools."

McCormick and Spartan pools open June 13. They are expected to draw about 33,000 visitors in their brief summer season. Thousands more cool off in the turtle spray parks, and wading pools at other city parks.

Missoula Mayor Mike Kadas is appointing the task force. It will study the city's present facilities, look for ways to improve them, and explore the possibility of a major construction effort. An indoor pool or even a year-round aquatics park are options.

Much of the research will stem from an aquatics study the city finished last November. That study said practically all the city's water facilities were due to close or fail in two to five years. The full report is available here.

The deadline to apply is June 2. For more information, click here.

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