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Dome sought to cover Jefferson Memorial Park pool

January 20, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The volunteers who operate the swimming pool at Jefferson Memorial Park are considering erecting a dome over the pool so it can be used year-round.

The dome would have an outer fabric covering and would be supported by air pressure, members of the park's board of directors told the Jefferson County Commission earlier this month.

A motor would be used to pump air into the structure to support it and heat it, said Bill Kline, president of the board of directors.


Although the board of directors is serious about the project, there are many issues to deal with, members said.

One is cost.

One estimate to erect the dome was $180,000, said Sandy Dougherty, secretary for the board of directors.

The park has received $8,000 from the state budget digest for the project and another $26,000 was raised for the project through the sale of a lot in Shannondale that was donated to the park, Dougherty said.

Dougherty said the board of directors may consider doing a major community fund-raising campaign to help raise the rest of the money.

Another issue is whether the park could afford to maintain the structure, said Kline.

Regardless of the challenges, Dougherty said she believes it is important to pursue the project for the benefit of the community.

The pool at the park, off Mildred Street on the southeast edge of Charles Town, is the only public pool in the county, Dougherty and Kline said. The board of directors has always believed it is important to operate the pool for children in the area who may not have their own pool, Dougherty said.

It is a popular spot in the summer, attracting about 7,000 swimmers every year, park officials said.

The 13-acre park is managed by the 25-member volunteer board of directors and the only paid employees are a pool manager, some lifeguards, a recreation director and tennis instructors hired each summer, Dougherty said.

The park is not part of the county park system, and gets most of its funding from the United Way of Jefferson County, Dougherty said.

The dome would allow adults amd youths to swim at the pool year-round, Dougherty said.

Because of the challenges facing the project, it is difficult to tell when the dome might be erected, Dougherty and Kline said.

"It might be 30 years," Dougherty said.

"It's something that's going to be in the future because it's a little expensive," Kline said.

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