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Village Council— Council to contract out pool care

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At their Feb. 4 meeting, Village Council members agreed to contract the responsibilities for running the Gaunt Park pool to Dayton Pool Management, or DPM, part of a nationwide pool management company. Council asked Village Manager Laura Curliss, who recommended the action, to bring legislation on the change for a vote to Council’s Feb. 19 meeting.

In the past, Village staff has managed the pool, and contracting out that responsibility would lighten Curliss’s workload, according to Council President Judith Hempfling, who also cited safety as a factor in making the change.

“Safety issues are significant at the pool,” Hempfling said. “This is a way to reduce the dangers.”

Safety issues are priority for the Dayton firm, according to Jeff Blume of DPM, who emphasized the company’s training of pool staff in a presentation to Council. The company, which manages about 50 pools in the area and is the only Dayton-area business that does so, will assume responsibility for preparing the pool for opening and closing, maintenance, hiring staff, staff training, swimming lessons and provide payroll and human resources services, according to a memo to Council from Curliss. Local people would be given priority when hiring, Blume said to Council.

The cost of contracting the pool management is about $72,000, which is about $4,000 less than had been budgeted in this year’s budget for pool management, accordng to Hempfling.

The pool will open, as it has in the past, on Memorial Day weekend and remain open to Labor Day, and hours, including adult lap swims, will remain the same.

“I don’t think anyone will notice the difference,” Council member Rick Walkey said. “It should look the same as last year.”

In other Council business:

• The Northern Gateway project, a plan to enhance the northern entrance to the village which has been an off-and-on project for a decade, appears to be off for good, according to Curliss. The project, for which the village had received $275,000 in federal funding, had been put on hold when the plan was deemed too expensive several years ago. However, the project was revived in a modified form after Curliss became Village manager, and its main feature, a connector between the current bike path and a new parking lot on Cemetery Street, was estimated to cost the Village about $100,000. Council voted to go ahead with the project last summer.

However, the Ohio Department of Transportation, or ODOT, has rejected the Northern Gateway plans because they are not ADA compliant, Curliss said. To be ADA compliant, the project would need to include the bridge that was in the original, more ambitious plans, which would bring the cost to the Village up to about $500,000, she said.

“You cannot afford a $500,000 project,” she said.

Council members agreed that it’s time to let go of the project.

• Dave Boyer and Kathryn Van der Heiden of Community Resources expressed their appreciation for the progress on the Center for Business and Education. After many years of delays and the recent loss of part of the project’s federal funding due to the delays, things seem to be moving ahead, according to Van der Heiden.

“We’re excited that it’s moving,” she said. “There’s a renewed energy from everyone, the Village and Community Resources.”

Van der Heiden and Boyer thanked Curliss for helping the CBE move forward. Council also unanimously approved a donation from CR of a right-of-way that, according to Curliss, is a necessary “first step toward financing and construction of the needed interior roadways.”

• Curliss announced that the Village would postpone a decision on whether to cap existing village wells, as recommended by Vernay Laboratories and the Greene County Combined Health District, in order to further research the situation. Due to concerns from Vernay neighbors on the effect of the ordinance on Vernay’s EPA-directed effort to remediate groundwater contamination, Curliss and Council members Rick Walkey and Karen Wintrow will form a task force to study the issue.

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