Plug is pulled on plan for public swimming |

Plug is pulled on plan for public swimming

Janet Urquhart

Tim Anderson, the city’s recreation director, said plans to provide some lap swimming time and swim lessons at the Aspen Club pool fell through unexpectedly.

“We thought we had an agreement with the Aspen Club,” he said. “I think the impacts we might have had might have been too great for their club.

“We’re scrambling a little bit. We’d like to be able to provide something.”

The existing James E. Moore Pool at Iselin Park is scheduled to be ripped out of the ground next month, when construction begins on a new recreation complex at the park that will include two swimming pools and an ice rink. Demolition of the pool is scheduled to begin March 15, but the last day of pool operation will be March 6, according to Anderson.

During the 18-month construction project, Anderson hoped to arrange for at least limited public use of another area pool facility. The Aspen Speedos swim team also needs a place to practice, he said.

Neither the Maroon Creek Club nor Aspen Meadows were interested in working out an arrangement with the city to host public lap swimming or swim lessons, according to Anderson. The Aspen Club, however, had expressed a willingness to provide some time at its small lap pool, he said. The city had planned to construct some temporary changing rooms at the club to accommodate public users at the members-only club.

The Aspen Club already allows the city’s noon-hour basketball players to use its facilities. The pickup basketball games were conflicting with gymnastics at the Red Brick Arts and Recreation Center, so the Aspen Club and city recreation department reached a deal to move the basketball program to the club.

Anderson had been optimistic that swimmers would be able to use the Aspen Club, as well. But, he said he was informed yesterday that, after further consideration, club officials decided the club could not accommodate city swim programs.

“They have members that pay good money and it was going to impact those people,” Anderson said.

“The impact of the public using that pool was just going to be too great on our resources and our members,” agreed Melissa Temple, general manager at the Aspen Club.

The club’s 23-yard, three-lane pool isn’t big enough to accommodate public swimming and the club was worried about traffic and parking impacts, as well, she said.

Anderson said he has contacted the Snowmass Club about using its facilities in the wake of the Aspen Club’s decision.

The nearest municipal pool is Basalt’s outdoor pool, which operates only during the summer months.

Anderson said he is open to other ideas. He hopes to arrange a regular time somewhere for lap swimmers and at least limited swimming lessons.

“Even if we could just get something in the summer, it would be great, just to get kids some aquatic education,” he said. “Swimming is one of those things where, if you don’t know how to do it, you could lose your life.”

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