SULLIVAN, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Sarah Hannon remembers driving by the Sullivan City Pool following the aftermath of the March 31st tornado.
“I was frightened because I drove around looking at the damage the tornado had done, I saw no fence around the pool,” Hannon, the manager for the pool, said. “So I was very disheartened, quite upset.”
In total– over $250,000 in damages, according to J.D. Wilson, the director of public works in Sullivan.
“We took a hit. We took a hit here at the Sullivan City Pool. It took the fencing, it took out the liner. In the deep end from the black benches to the rockwall, all of it went inside the pool. It ripped the liner in several places,” he said.
Less than two months after the storm, however, Wilson said they have made significant progress on repairs, and they are close to being able to open for families around the city.
“If we’re not going to have a full summer, it’s going to be close to a full summer,” he said.
Wilson said it was probably about a month ago when they finally got to work assessing damages– which mainly pertained to the liner for the pool, as well as the fencing.
“The first thing we did was we looked at what needed done. What materials needed to be ordered, what parts needed to be ordered? The staff and management continued on, accepting applications, getting lifeguards trained, doing their process,” he said.
Despite the initial concerns, Hannon said she was hopeful they would be able to fix the situation– and staffing should be an issue.
They are set to return all but one lifeguard from 2022, when the pool had a shortened summer due to maintenance. The late start caused hiring problems, but Hannon said they are not in the same situation as they near opening day this year.
“We are wanting to hit the ground running and our workers are ready to go,” she said. “In fact, they ask all the time, ‘when can I come down and help?’ And I’ve had some come and help and do some little things around there.”
Wilson credited the crews who have led the repairs over the past few weeks. He said the liner was patched for this summer– it will need to be replaced once pool season finishes up– but the fence repairs will be permanent.
There is no set date at this point for opening day, said Wilson, because they are waiting on the last materials to come in.
“The fencing is big. The fencing to secure the perimeter around the pool and around the facility, that still needs to arrive,” he said. “It’s scheduled to arrive coming up in the next week or so, and the workers are ready to put that up when it does arrive.”
Wilson said, while the repairs will probably cost “a large number,” he was unsure what that will look like at this point. However, he is excited to soon see families flooding into the pool.
“When you’re down here and you’re gathering, smiles are on faces, hearts are warmed up, it’s just a good gathering place to just have fun. Bring the kids down to have fun, bring the families down to have fun, and that’s what we’re here to do,” he said. “There’s things still to happen, where we can’t really exactly know when that date is coming. But it’s coming soon. The guys are working hard, and we’re loving it everyday because we’re one day closer.”
Wilson said updates on the pool can be found on their Facebook page.