State official says Withrow pool will be open in 2020

A crew from Baldwin & Shell made repairs ahead of deadline last summer to the swimming pool at Withrow Springs State Park. The pool did not open in 2018.

The Arkansas State Parks director said the swimming pool at Withrow Springs State Park will be open for Memorial Day in May 2020, after some final repairs are made.

“Oh, it’s going to be open,” said Grady Spann earlier this week. “We should have all these issues or all these things addressed way before then so we can open up and provide the pool back to the community and our guests there by Memorial Day.”

Baldwin & Shell of Little Rock last summer completed a $487,210 project to replace block walls and part of the deck. Chief Planner Jordan Thomas said that around 100 linear feet of wall was to be replaced, along with about 1,000 square feet of deck.

In August 2019, plans were made to open the pool for the Labor Day weekend, but the water level dropped eight inches and the opening never took place.

The leak that caused the problems in August was not associated with the Baldwin & Shell work, officials said.

The swimming pool at Withrow – the only public swimming pool in Madison County – was closed all of 2018 and 2019. The pool opened in the 1960s.

Baldwin & Shell began work this past May to repair part of the pool. Problems were found in 2017, but the pool remained open the rest of that summer.

After Baldwin & Shell finished its project, the pool passed inspection. The pool was filled with water to balance chemicals, and that’s when the leaks were discovered just before Labor Day in September.

“If we didn’t have a leak, we were planning to open this weekend and allow people to come enjoy the pool for the last weekend in the summer, but since we found the leak we’re not able to do that now,” Spann said last summer.

“We were trying to get it open for this weekend, but it seems like there’s another leak that we weren’t aware of or don’t know where it is,” Spann said.

Spann said this week that the state is working with a company that has found two leaks in the pool.

“We’re working with American Leak Detection Company to really make sure where these leaks are coming from, to address those issues,” he said.

“We’ve got one [leak] in the kiddie pool and then one in the, we believe, one in the drainage system of the large pool. We’re trying to get those addressed and going through the processes to get that done.”

Spann said the state has not stopped working on the pool.

“We’re still wrapping that project up,” he said this week. “We’ve got just a few things that we need to wrap up before spring, but we’re moving forward with it,” he said.

“As you know, as you repair things and you renovate things, other things appear, so we’re trying to get those other things fixed and addressed before we open the pool this spring.”

Spann said it is vital to fix the leaks in full.

“The key to this is you’ve got to find it, because everything’s covered up and making sure that we address it ... is the right thing to do here so we don’t have to go back and close it down again for an unknown reason. We want to address all the issues right now, since we have this opportunity.”

Spann stressed that work being done now is not part of what Baldwin & Shell did this summer.

“This is not part of the initial project, this is an addition,” he said.

“So that’s the other thing, is we’re trying to figure out what the problem is and then we’ll have to see about how much it’s going to cost to correct that. Right now we haven’t gotten to the phase of discovery of the financial part of it yet.”

Spann said he hopes all of the work can be done by the new year.

“I just talked to Jordan Thomas and he said they’re hoping to have this complete by the end of this month,” Spann said.

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