Residents of the Garden Hills neighborhood will soon get a new pool house, expected to cost $800,000.
It’s scheduled for completion in April 2014, but there’s still about $150,000 needed to fully fund the project, according to Jeff Clark, president of the pool’s board of directors. The Garden Hills Pool and Park Association has planned several fundraisers throughout the fall.
Clark said few outside of Garden Hills realize what a unique asset the community has.
“There are 17 or 18 public pools in the city of Atlanta; 15 of them are … right at I-20 or south [of I-20],” Clark said. “The remaining three are all private–public partnerships.”
The Garden Hills pool is one of the three, Clark said. The other two are the Chastain Park and Piedmont Park pools.
Clark said the cost of the project has been a subject of scrutiny from outside observers. Part of the expense involves making the building compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“While it does look pretty and we made a real effort to make it fit with the neighborhood, it is a very inexpensive building,” Clark said.
According to a study by the Pool and Park Association, the Garden Hills pool attracts more than 500 patrons daily from May through September. The pool generated $357,200 in revenue in 2012.
The original pool house was built in 1979, according to the study. In 2011, pipes burst in the men’s bathroom and put the Pool and Park Association on the path to rebuilding the house.
Clark said the pool house and the pool are an important part of the neighborhood’s identity. Every year, teenagers from the neighborhood start their first summer jobs working there. They are affectionately known as the “pool rats” by the neighborhood.
“The parents love it,” Clark said. “They can put their kids on their bikes and send them to work.”
Clark said the pool house expansion opens up other opportunities. Local schools, like North Atlanta High, might be able to utilize it for their athletics programs, he said. In the metro area, public pool space can be hard to find.
“Unless you’re the member of a country club, you don’t have access to water to swim in,” Clark said. “There’s a huge demand.”