Fight Over Parks, Pools Comes Down to Money

The city provided with this graph of how the population has changed in the neighborhoods surrounding the rec centers.

City Councilors are still waiting on a report of details concerning your parks and pools. This comes as crews are demolishing the swimming pool at Ben Hill Park.

Concerned citizens feel there is enough money to save the pool and the planned demolition involving 9 city parks.

For the second day in a row, a jack hammer chipped away at the Ben Hill pool. City leaders said it would not hold water and now, it never will. We found out today, there is no money to save the pool. Crews demolished it, as city workers and no extra charge.

There is money from a 2006 capitol improvement package that would allow for painting the walls of the recreation center and repairing the gym floors, all at a cost of $68,000. We are told the city stopped operating the park center and pool ten years ago. That is when any repairs and any cash went on hold.

Right now the city is looking for an organization to help keep it open, with their own program.

"We we do not have money for the operation nor do we have money for the continual maintenance. We have facilities right today that are open where the roof is open. We don't have funding for it," said Dwain Midget, City of Tulsa.

Plans to demolish buildings at Springdale and B.C. Franklin are on hold.

WEB EXTRA: City's ResponseKim MacLeod with the city provided with additional details about the demolition of the pool:

City of Tulsa stopped operating Hill, Franklin and Springdale Rec Centers in 2002.

The Centers were operated via private partnerships on and off until 2009 when the partners could not pay for utilities and the City was making deep cuts and officials determined they would not reopen the centers.

In 2006 sales tax, Hill received $68,000 to replace the gym floor and paint the facility. The pool was not used by the partnership and fell into further disrepair until it was no longer safe or could even hold water. The building is not on the list for demo and we have issued an RFP for partnership similar to Owen Park.

Building repairs for Hill in 2013 costs are assessed at $1.25 million; $254,146 in pool repairs; $701,895 in site repairs for a total of $2.2 million.

In 2001 sales tax allocations for Springdale was $312,000 for improvements, but we had a shortfall in 2001 sales tax after economic downturn following 9/11. 2006 sales tax allocations were voted on and increased money for Springdale to $711,847 for gym replacement, facility painting and air conditioning. Springdale was still being operated by partnership, off and on. We needed those improvements just to keep the building functional at that time. The building and pool continued to be used until 2009 by the partners even though they were in need of repair, and we didn't have adequate funding to complete the repairs. 2013 costs for repairs are now $1.44 million for building; $655,097 for site and $455,702 for pool - $2.5 million. The allocation is still $711,847.

Franklin was in a similar situation, but received only $470,000 from sales tax. Necessary repairs exceed $2.5 million: $833,149 for building; $870,886 for site; $824,859 for pool.