- Associated Press - Sunday, May 8, 2016

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) - The city of Terre Haute might not open any public swimming pools this summer for the first time in more than five decades.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Board voted last month to shut down the 54-year-old pool at Deming Park, which parks department records show operated at loss of nearly $165,000 since 2011.

Attendance at the pool had been declining since 2012, when it drew about 7,500 people from June to August. Last summer’s attendance was about 2,800, the Tribune-Star reported (http://bit.ly/21rOGv2).

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett said he plans on talking with parks officials about how to keep the pool open, at least in the short term, for the city’s 60,000 residents. Bennett said the parks department should look at alternatives as many people favor water parks with features such as splash pads rather than only having swimming in deep water.

“I think things have changed for people to swim in the summer,” he said. “We need more variety and options, which seems to be nationwide.”

The Deming Park pool was one of three the city opened in 1962. Maintenance costs and low attendance were cited in closing the other pools in 2006 and 2011.

Bennett said he wants to see public meetings held to seek input on possible water features.

Billy Hubbard, director of safety and operations for the city parks department, estimates needed repairs for the Deming pool to reopen this year would cost $15,000 to $20,000. Bennett said he thinks $20,000 to $25,000 is a reasonable amount that could be met in the parks department budget to keep the pool open while another option is figured out.

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Information from: Tribune-Star, http://www.tribstar.com

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