By Scott Smith
Tribune staff writer
The city’s Kokomo Beach Aquatic Center sustained heavy damage from the April 19 flood and won’t be able to open on time, Kokomo officials announced Wednesday.
Kokomo Parks & Recreation Department Superintendent John Martino said workers were unable to keep the facility’s main pool filled with water and discovered significant cracking in the pool’s concrete late last week.
Martino said he suspects pressure from flood waters contributed to the concrete cracking. He said at least one of the pool’s concrete-encased water supply lines has been compromised.
Engineers are due to inspect the pool Friday, at which point Martino said he hopes to know more.
“Once the extent of the damage has been determined, I can guarantee you repairs will begin and we’ll try to get that pool opened as quickly as possible,” Martino said.
Martino said there also appears to be a hollow spot beneath the pool, which wasn’t there prior to the flooding.
On April 19, Kokomo sustained the highest levels of the Wildcat Creek in recorded history, dating back to the 1950s, when a stream gauge first was established. The creek crested at nearly 9 feet above flood stage, flooding properties along Park Avenue where the pool is located.
City officials had hoped to open the pool this Saturday.
Martino said the news that the pool is damaged is disheartening.
“We want the pool up and operating,” he said. “It’s one of the gems, not just of this community, but of the region. We have buses full of kids coming here from out of town all summer long.”
Engineers will pressure test all of the pool’s systems, Martino said. He said he couldn’t guess at how long it will take to repair the pool until the engineers complete their assessment.
The pool opened in 2002 and survived the 2003 flood largely unscathed. The creek rose significantly higher this time around, however.
Wednesday, city engineer Carey Stranahan said the flooded area of the city in April corresponded almost exactly with engineering models of a 100-year flood. Incredibly, the 100-year flood event of 2013 came 100 years after what was probably the city’s last such event, the great flood of 1913.
Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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