Work will be completed for Memorial Day opening.
As the weather starts to warm up, families in Macon County can start to look forward to to a new pool facility at the recreation park. During a recent joint meeting of the Macon County Board of Commissioners, Town of Highlands and Town of Franklin, County Commission Chair Kevin Corbin announced that the renovations to Macon County's community pool would be complete and ready for opening day by Memorial Day weekend.
Since the rec park pool has gone 40 years virtually untouched, commissioners made the commitment to upgrade the pool facility last fall when they unanimously voted to allocate $546,000 to completely make over the pool and poolhouse.
“If there are no other weather delays we plan on opening on the 24th of May, said Seth Adams, director of Macon County's recreation department. “Other than the weather here and there, the process has gone very smooth.”
“The pool project is coming along very well,” said Corbin. “Everything is on time and everything is coming in as we bid it as far as the price goes. The plan now is for the pool to open Memorial Day weekend. There is so much excitement about this new project, that Seth thinks he will have a capacity crowd everyday.”
Commissioners were able to complete the pool project with existing funds in the county's budget.
“I am very happy that we were able to do this project without having to borrow money or raise taxes,” noted Corbin. “We used existing resources to do it. Wise budgeting and spending on behalf of the county department heads and county manager have resulted in us being able to finish one-time projects like this one.”
The renovation project, which has been completed by Augusta Aquatics and Koop Construction, will not only provide the community with a brand-new, safer, pool, but will also feature a separate children's area.
The pool that is being replaced was one body of water, which provided problems if a younger child had an accident in the pool. By constructing a separate area for the kids, the pool staff would be able to avoid having to shut down the entire facility if an accident was to occur. The kiddie portion of the pool will have several above ground water structures for children to play in. The large pool will also have lanes for swim competitions which will help local swim teams who have had to travel elsewhere to practice and compete.
Brad and Ashley Hyder, who will celebrate their son Grayson's first birthday this weekend, have supported the pool renovation project from the beginning and look forward to having a place to take Grayson this summer.
“We are looking forward to the new pool because we can’t wait to have a place to cool off this summer while in a safe and family friendly environment,” said Ashley Hyder.
The scope of the project has remained the same since its inception last fall.
“We have kept the plans the same other than some little changes here and there that we have come upon during the renovation process,” said Adams, who believes the new facility will provide community members with several benefits. “The added benefits will include longer hours, shade, music, slide, water features and more. It isn’t just your typical pool anymore. It is a facility Macon County can be proud of.” Macon County resident Tracy Amajm said her son AJ is already planning his eighth birthday party and hopes to have it at the pool in June.
Macon County native Alicia Raby Teague appreciates Macon County's commitment to children. “I am really excited for the kids,” she said. “I am so glad Franklin is showing support for our youth.”
Corbin and Adams believe that the new additions will bring in more people to the pool.
“This is much different than the past, where attendance was very poor,” explained Corbin. “We had a lot of Macon County families driving to Jackson County or Swain County to go to their pools. Now we think they will be staying home, plus folks from surrounding counties will want to come here. In the past, admission charges to the pool have not even covered the cost of the lifeguards. We think that will be different now. The look and feel of the pool will be totally different. It is very family-friendly, with shaded areas, plus all kinds of water features. We are excited about the pool opening and what it means to citizens of all ages in Macon County. This pool belongs to every citizen of this county. They will be proud of this facility and will enjoy using it for decades.”