Home Local News Heizer Pool to close for repairs in summer 2023?

Heizer Pool to close for repairs in summer 2023?

12 min read

Gabrielle Arsiaga/News-Sun

The fate of one of Hobbs’ outdoor swimming pools is in limbo.

Hobbs City commissioners met for a work session regarding Hobbs’ aquatic facilities Tuesday night, before a regularly schedule commission meeting.

City of Hobbs’ Recreational Director Doug McDaniels told commisioners the majority of Hobbs’ aquatic facilities are aged and the repairs needed are expensive. As a result, the city brought in a third party person to evaluate each facility and assist with making the decision to make the necessary repairs or update each with “modern amenities.”

Director of Landscape and Architecture for Halff Associates Kirk Wilson and Water Technologies Principal Doug Whiteaker conducted the feasibility study visiting each of Hobbs’ aquatic facilities and conducting evaluations while also assisting with a public input session at the CORE (Center of Recreational Excellence). Wilson said he and Whiteaker toured the CORE, Del Norte Park, Humble, Taylor School, City Park, Jefferson, Washington Heights, and Heizer Pool.

Whiteaker said Heizer pool needs to be closed and possibly replaced with better amenities.

“Heizer is really kind of one of those things that started out with some problems,” he said. “There are some things that need to be changed code wise that caused some challenges to the operation of it.

“This pool really needs a complete renovation of a new interior, new deck work, and major waterslide refurbishment. The children’s area is not ADA acceptable. The water slide needs to be refurbished and gel coated and the rock work needs to be repaired and color coated. The kids pool is a big challenge in terms of ADA accessibility and it’s hard to life guard because there’s a lot of places to hide behind. The pool deck needs shade and sun turf.

“As it exists today, it needs to be fully renovated.”

Hobbs City Manager Manny Gomez told the News-Sun the city plans to close the facility for summer 2023 and possibly build a new facility to could tentatively open summer of 2024 – 2025.

“I think what we’re going to do as staff is provide the commission and public with what we have learned from the feasibility study and determine what is most cost-effective,” Gomez said. “What will happen most likely is this swim season, Hezier pool will most likely have to be closed to renovate and make the necessary upgrades to be in compliance.

“We then need to determine if we need to go with a (new) neighborhood pool in that same area or identify a new area with the Del Norte (pool) concept in the area of districts three and four. So, rather than having the three outdoor pools we have today, we (would) have a larger pool more up to date with amenities that would be similar (to Del Norte).”

Del Norte Park, according to Whiteaker, needs several upgrades including a new pool interior, replacement of tile, cleaning, repairing damaged grading, redoing deck coating and fixing any slip/fall concerns.
“You guys have a very unusual water chemistry in town that really needs to be dealt with,” he said. “There’s some damaged water slides that need to be repaired and recoated. Replace new spray play features, add new aquatic features, add shade, and update changing rooms that are not up to today’s expectations.”

The recommendations given by Whiteaker and Wilson were to update Del Norte Park, close Heizer due to “significant needed renovations and expenses” and also consider a short-range plan to close Humble Pool.

“These actions would enable the combining of the operational and maintenance cost into one appropriately located new outdoor family aquatic center in the southern region of Hobbs,” Whiteaker said. “Your consultants feel Heizer renovation costs would be better spent toward a new outdoor facility with relevant amenities, higher revenues potential, better cost recovery and lower maintenance and operational cost.

“The Humble Pool location continues to experience low participation numbers and is just not a neighborhood friendly pool. This pool could potentially be repurposed as a training pool for fitness and but is not going to meet your recreational needs of the community much longer.”

Whiteaker suggested city leaders identify an appropriate location for a new aquatic facility to better serve the residents of Hobbs.

“I think that Hobbs could truly support two great family aquatic centers, and make those sustainable for the users,” Whiteaker said.

“For the most part, every pool has its needs and maintenance,” Gomez told the News-Sun. “We’ve determined Heizer pool will be closed and either repaired or have a new pool built. As a city, we will get this information out to the (residents) and get their input on what they want (regarding the pools).”

Gomez said a location has not been determined for a new pool, but could possibly be in the southern or central areas of Hobbs.
“Amenity wise, we have got to decide if we want something like Del Norte or keep it as we know Heizer today. That is a decision for the community and commissioners and the cost associated,” Gomez said.

According to McDaniels, the city also put out a survey on the city’s social media pages to solicit the public’s opinion is of each aquatic facility.
Two key questions were asked:

• Why is the city pool important to you?

• Are there any reasons you do not use city aquatic facilities?
The responses varied from the facilities are good to relax, exercise and have fun, but the downside is they are often “crowded, dirty or the water is too cold.”

“Citizens of Hobbs are very concerned about the aquatic facilities and have a desire for the facilities to remain an integral part of their recreational experience,” Wilson said during his presentation to commissioners. “The community has expressed a desire to improve aquatic systems that are in line with today’s public parks that include updated facilities, more experiences, water courses, toys and slides for all ages, and an overall fresh look.

“What I thought was interesting … was one citizen said she knew at the end of the day these (upgrades) were going to cost money and she was willing to help with that.”

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