With community help, Westmorland’s pool finally scheduled for renovation

The current condition of Westmorland’s public pool will require many upgrades and renovations before it can reopen, said Mary Anne Smith, a Westmorland city council member.

WESTMORLAND - It is sometimes said that things get better with age. Unfortunately, Westmorland’s pool doesn’t appear to be one of those things as residents agree the pool is over 75 years old and needs an upgrade.

Mary Anne Smith, a Westmorland city council member, said she has worked with many invested locals, such as Ed Snively, county Supervisor Ryan Kelley, the Imperial Irrigation District, and others, to make the small city’s dream of a new pool possible.

Trying to discover the true issue with the pool was unsuccessful, Smith said, and as a result, she and others decided to fix the pool completely, instead of trying to address just one issue.

“We’re going to start from the ground up, and basically revamp what we already have,” said Smith.

The plans to renovate the pool consist of installations of a pool lift, stainless steel handrails, shade structures, a new plumbing and sanitation system, fence repairs, and leveling the pool off to a five foot depth.

In efforts to maintain ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliance, the fence surrounding the pool will need repairs and the restroom facilities will also be upgraded.

The anticipated total cost for the project is about $228,000, according to Smith. With the help of volunteers, IID, the county of Imperial, and many others behind the scenes, the new pool will hopefully become a reality. Ryan Kelley, a director with the Imperial County Board of Supervisors, helped raise funds for the project.

“At the time, when they brought it to my attention, we didn’t have the kind of money that they were talking about, so we tried to help them with grant applications through the state parks,” said Kelley.

The community has been asking the city to restore the Westmorland pool for many years. With the possibility of restoration finally happening, many generous people have jumped on board, according to Smith. The support for the new pool is huge, as many are willing to donate time, money, and other resources, she said.

“The conversation between IID and the county occurred about how we could make an impact that would help the pool situation in Westmorland,” said Kelley.

Having a community pool is more than just a way to escape the summer heat. Smith said she has extensively researched the health benefits of having a community pool. Swimming is considered the least strenuous cardiovascular exercise, which is beneficial for people who are pregnant, overweight, and people with joint pain, according to research.

“Water is an ideal environment for individuals who suffer from diseases like arthritis, diabetes, dementia, and multiple sclerosis and from physical injuries,” said Smith.

Smith hopes to challenge the effects of some of these diseases by implementing water Tai Chi, aqua Zumba, aqua aerobics, and even arthritis aqua – a specially designed workout plan to help relieve arthritis pain.

The reconstruction of the pool is on an 18-month plan with an anticipated opening in summer of 2019. Smith said she has high hopes for the new pool and expects a triumph for the Westmorland community.