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Natchez pool closes for weather

NATCHEZ — Natchez’s community swimming pool closed Tuesday after temperatures dropped in the 60s this week, but the pool could reopen if weather gets warm enough, city leaders said.

Mayor Darryl Grennell said he is optimistic that the pool will have more swimming days before winter comes.

“I understand on warmer days the pool will be open,” Grennell said. “We still have some warm days ahead,” Grennell said.

In the meantime, city officials met Wednesday morning to discuss options for heating the pool until spring.

Grennell, Natchez city attorney Robert Latham, Ward 1 Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis, Ward 3 Alderwoman Sarah Carter-Smith, District 1 Adams County Supervisor Mike Lazarus, District 4 Adams County Supervisor James “Ricky” Gray and Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission member Jimmy Ware, attended the meeting, held in the City Council Chambers building.

Ware said heating the 225,000-gallon pool would come at a cost of approximately $30,000 for a heater and operational costs of $200 per day the heater is used.

Enclosing the competitive portion of the pool is a consideration that was revisited Wednesday. Ware said a metal building is preferable to a bubble enclosure over the water, which he said could sweat and cause bacteria build-up. Ware said the commission has yet to acquire plans or estimates for an enclosure.

Grennell said James Johnson, city grant writer, would be seeking grants for heating the pool. Grennell also said the city would look for the YMCA of Jackson to pursue such grants.

Ware said the Natchez Parks and Recreation Department also has plans to seek grants and inquire about reduced utility rates to help with potential heating costs.

Karri Simpson attended the meeting to see how her son could continue practicing for the Sunkist Swim Team. Simpson said she and other swim team parents are meeting with representatives at the Senior Citizens Multipurpose Center to see about reserving times to use the pool at the city-owned facility for practice.

Simpson said she and other parents were aware the cool weather would eventually lead them to seek other options. Simpson also said she would be willing to participate in fundraisers if it would help extend the pool season.

“We just want to be supportive,” Simpson said.

Also at the meeting, city and county officials requested that the Natchez Parks and Recreation Department provide monthly updates and an annual budget to the city and county boards. Ware said the department would begin sending a representative monthly to city and county board meetings.