By Jeffery Smith

CORNING - The future of the ailing Denison and Stewart park pools has long been in question.

The City Council is expected to vote at 6:30 p.m. Monday to set a preliminary strategy to decommission and raze the aging pools, before converting the Stewart Park Pool into a splash park and the Denison Pool into an aquatic facility.

The City Capital Project Finance Committee unanimously voted Monday in favor of the plan.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” said Councilman Chris Karam, R-3, finance committee chairman. “It’s leaning towards decommission, and razing the pools and modernizing (the sites), but I think the resolution is flexible enough that we can still consider all options.”

Councilman Alison Hunt, R-8, agreed, but said all City Council members represent a different park of the city, and she would like the plan to be equitable to both the North and South sides of the city.

“I’d like to look at this as a city issue,” said Mayor Rich Negri. “Not the North and South sides. It bothers me.”

Under the proposed plan, in 2018, city swimming programs currently held at both the Denison and Stewart park pools would be held at a $2.5 million renovated pool at Corning-Painted Post School High School.

City Manager Mark Ryckman and Negri recently met with C-PP Superintendent of Schools Mike Ginalski and School Board President Dale Wexell to discuss the plan.

“If the resolution is passed an inter-municipal agreement would need to be approved by both the City Council and the C-PP School Board,” Ryckman said.

Negri said he feels the discussion with the C-PP officials went very well.

“I anticipated a little pushback from Wexell, be he was very agreeable,” Negri said.

Other steps set for 2018 include the decommission of Stewart Park Pool and the construction of a splash park at Stewart Park.

In 2020, under the plan, the Denison Pool would be decommissioned and an aquatic facility would be built in Denison Park.

Both facilities are outdated and in need of capital improvements.

Denison Park Pool, built in 1970, needs $1 million in repairs and upgrades and Stewart Park Pool, built in 1983, is in need of $700,000 in repairs.

Under the current plan, the city will spend $220,000 in early 2017 to replace a failing pool filter at Denison Park.

“If the filtration system in not fixed the pool will not be open,” Ryckman said.

Ryckman said the costs of the splash park at Stewart Park and the aquatic facility at Denison Park are currently not known. The city, if the resolution is approved, will hire a consultant to analyze the cost of the projects.

The decommission of each pool is expected to cost about $206,000.