WP Council voices concerns about pool being out of service

Published 9:00 am Thursday, June 1, 2023

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On Tuesday, the West Point City Council discussed the need for county funding for the community pool.

“We need a pool, and we need a nice recreation center just like they have in LaGrange,” said West Point Mayor Steve Tramell. 

The West Point pool has now been closed since 2020 and is in need of extensive work to bring it to functionality. 

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“It’s outlived it’s life expectancy,” said Troup County-West Point Recreation Director Mike Pitts.

According to Pitts, the pool was originally built in the 60s. The Troup County School System currently owns the pool because it sits on the West Point Elementary School property.

Shortly before the pandemic, the Health Department of Georgia required that the pool be upgraded to meet standards. However, taking into consideration the repairs for the bathrooms, bathhouse, decking, piping and the shell of the pool, Pitts said the facility would likely need to be completely rebuilt.

“It would cost about what it would be to build a new one,” Pitts said. 

City Manager Ed Moon also said repair expenses make it more cost efficient to build a new facility.

“The pool has really reached a point where it really wouldn’t make sense to repair the pool from a cost perspective,” Moon said. “So I think the conversation really is about how we move forward with constructing a new pool in West Point.”

Some councilmembers voiced concerns about the pool remaining out of service. West Point Councilperson Sandra Thornton said the pool is an important resource for recreation and water safety in West Point.

“There’s not a lot of activities in West Point for children,” Thornton said. “… So many people could benefit from it, not just children in the community.”

Before the pool closed, children could take swimming lessons and enjoy pool parties and other activities at the pool. 

With West Point Lake nearby, Thornton said it was a safe place for children to learn to swim. Adults also used the pool for exercise. 

“It’s just sad that we’re treated like the bottom of the pole when it comes to resources that come in from LaGrange,” Thornton said. 

The city and Troup County have allotted money through SPLOST to go toward recreation in West Point. It’s expected that $2 million that will be available via SPLOST in 2025 will be available for the pool. 

“The county gets more than enough money out of the city of West Point to give us a nice indoor recreation facility just like they do in LaGrange,” Tramell said. “But they won’t do that because they don’t feel like we’re worthy of that.”

Tramell said that the county collects enough taxes from West Point that they should be able to support more of the city’s recreation projects.

“LOST and SPLOST each are $180 million every six years,” Tramell said. “We get a nickel out of every dollar and 45 cents goes to LaGrange and 45 cents goes to the county.”

The next steps to take for the project will be for the county and the city to have a discussion about the allocation of funds for the pool. At that time, the council will address the Troup County Commission to see if the county will support the project. 

County Manager Eric Mosley said the county is more than willing to discuss any requests from the three cities in Troup County but has not received any specific requests from West Point. 

“There are people that would like to see a pool in West Point for the use of the local community and not just within city limits but the whole south west side of the county … I think that’s a conversation worth having moving forward with the city and the county,” Moon said.