Pinney pool to open for summer?

Pinney pool to open for summer?By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

Renovation of Sgt. John Pinney Pool could begin as soon as late February, according to local contractors. This news comes about a year after Ridgecrest was forced to suddenly close the pool when the city couldn’t afford to bring the facilities up to Americans With Disabilities Act compliance.

The closure was triggered by a lawsuit after a wheelchair-bound man filed a complaint against the city that he was unable to use the facilities.

According to the document, there was no wheelchair access to the pool itself, no pool lift, inaccessible restrooms and other obstacles that made it extremely difficult to use.

Without the estimated $1 million plus to do the required work, the city closed down the pool. But the community has since rallied to restore what many have called a public necessity and a local landmark.

“We have several contractors that are willing to volunteer their time and efforts,” said Chuck Cordell of Cordell Construction Co. “We have some donations to take care of some of the labor, and the city has offered to chip in on some of the materials.”

Cordell says the involved parties hope to get started before the end of February to ensure summer use.

“I got involved because I went to school with some of the Pinneys,” he said. The pool was named for Sgt. John Scott Pinney, a local who was killed in action in 1969 during the Vietnam War. “I didn’t know him personally, but I wanted to see what I could do.”

Cordell specified that he wasn’t the only contractor contributing resources to the project. He said there were too many to name right now but the involved parties are planning a formal announcement soon.

“I don’t want anybody to think this is just my company. We have a lot of contractors and generous community members involved,” he said.

He also wanted to clarify that they are “in no way interfering” with the IWV Economic Development Corporation’s plans to get a large-scale competitive and recreational aquatic center off the ground.

“In fact, if it ever gets up and running, we’d like to turn the “Sgt. John Pinney Memorial” name over to the aquatic center.”

The Pinney pool discussion resurfaced at recent Ridgecrest City Council meetings when the council discussed, and later approved, a parks assessment study.

According to the Parks and Recreation director’s presentation, the city has some $10 million worth of maintenance and improvement projects that city staff has designated as a “needs list.”

Pinney Pool is on that list as needing anywhere from $1-3 million to renovate. But the concerted effort from locals will bring that cost down significantly.

“We’re shooting for $500,000 or less,” said Cordell. “Materialwise, you’re probably looking at $150,000. The city has committed to helping with material costs, but not to a specific dollar amount.”

Cordell said that anybody can contact him at 760-375-3118 if they are interested in donating or assisting the project.

“There are good people in the valley and they want to see this thing take off,” he said.

See upcoming editions for future developments.

------

Pictured: Families splash around during open swim at Pinney Pool. — News Review file photo

Story First Published: 2018-01-26