ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — The town of Timberville will not be opening its pool for the summer of 2019 amid staffing and financial difficulties.
On Monday night, the Timberville Town Council voted not to open the Plains District Memorial Pool.
In March, during a meeting of the Parks and Recreation Committee, town leaders discussed repairs needed for structures and ball fields at the 11-acre Plains District Memorial Park, and considered what to do with the pool, which was built in 1994 and is in need of repairs.
According to town manager Austin Garber, attendance at the pool has dropped considerably in recent years, and it's been operating at between a $20,000 to $25,000 loss each year.
In addition to the financial problems, the town council said one of the main factors in their decision not to open the pool was a lack of response to the town's advertising for lifeguards.
They said there were so few responses to their need for lifeguards that it "isn't physically possible to staff the pool."
Though the pool will be closed, council members said they're "committed to providing a more diverse offering of recreation activities for residents and visitors to enjoy by enhancing the town's park system."
To do that, the town is working on a master plan for improvements to the town's recreational opportunities.
"As it is the duty of the Town Council to be responsible with how taxpayer dollars are spent, it makes much better fiscal sense to allocate funds towards multiple park improvements, that a larger population will utilize, than to sink funds into an amenity whose popularity is dwindling," a statement by Garber on April 16 concluded.
Those improvements are likely to include immediate actions like repairing roofs and mending ball-field fences and dug-outs, as well as ong-term ideas, such as creating a walking path and building a kayak and canoe boat launch on the river, as well as possibly adding more parking.
Timberville is not the only town in the Shenandoah Valley that has had to take the step of closing a town-managed pool for the summer in 2019. The town of Grottoes closed down the pool at Grand Caverns Park to make long-needed repairs to the aging pool there.