South Omaha pool permanently closing


April 11th, 2012

Omaha, NE – The city of Omaha will permanently close and remove the swimming pool at Morton Park in South Omaha this summer.

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Pat Slaven (left) and Brook Bench (right) with the City of Omaha address about two dozen citizens at a public meeting. (Photo by Angel Martin)

At a public meeting Tuesday evening at the Christie Heights Community Center, Brook Bench, Omaha’s acting parks director, talked about Morton Park and the future of the park’s swimming pool, which was built in 1973 and has become dilapidated. “Total would be over a half-million dollars to get the pool just back to the way that it was,” Bench said. Bench said there are other pools in the area that could be utilized if Morton’s pool closed. “To put that kind of money into that type of pool, it just doesn’t make sense.”

Bench said over the last five years, attendance has gone down at the pool. City officials have suggested a water playground as an alternative.

About two dozen citizens gathered for the meeting, many of them live near the park. During the meeting, several neighbors suggested adding more street lights around the park, adding trash cans, and making the playground bigger.

Mary Safranek attended the meeting. She said she’s lived near the park for 50 years. She said all six of her kids used the pool when they were younger because it was within walking distance of their home. But she said she thinks re-purposing the facility could have its benefits. “Everything they said looks wonderful and it’s really going to be nice if they put all that in,” Safranek said.

Bench said the city plans to demolish the pool by the end of this summer, and then begin revamping the park area.

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