Congress Park Pool to get a new look

City seeks community input on new designs for ‘beloved’ facility


After several summers of quick fixes, city officials have started the community process to redesign the Congress Park Pool.

City officials held a public meeting on Aug. 12 to get community input from residents of the area. Perkins and Will is the architecture firm working on the project, along with Counsilman Hunsaker Aquatics, a company specializing in pools, and Mundus Bishop, which will handle the landscape work around the pool space, which is located at 850 Josephine St.

Staff from the city as well as the design team gave a quick presentation during the meeting, highlighting some of the different uses for outdoor pools, such as competitive training, recreation and swim lessons, as well as the growing use for wellness and therapy. The presentation also listed possible new amenities that could be added like a climbing wall or slides.

Rachel Scarborough, a senior landscape architect with Mundus Bishop also said during the meeting that she encouraged people to give their opinions about the land around the pool.

“This is a beloved pool,” she said. “We know the trees are cherished, the shade is cherished. This park really is the heart of the Congress Park community.”

Judy Lichtbach, a Park Hill resident, pointed out during the meeting that the pool draws visitors from around the city, rather than just Congress Park residents. It is the only 50-meter outdoor pool in Denver, and many people use it for exercise, she said.

Lichtbach also argued that several other pools in the city already have amenities, such as the climbing wall in the Carla Madison Recreation Center’s pool. She is hopeful the city will keep the pool at 50 meters. Many seniors, like herself, who can’t run anymore or do other forms of intense exercise, prefer to use the pool.

“This is it,” Lichtbach said, “there’s nothing quite like this.”

Cyndi Karvaksi, a spokesperson for Denver Parks and Recreation, said in an email that the physical footprint of the pool could possibly change depending on what people want. The pool is currently six lanes wide.

Staff members from Perkins and Will created a “build-a-pool” sheet for the meeting, where people could select different amenities they wanted for the potential new pool and could see estimated costs. The company said the form would also be available online.

The pool almost didn’t open this summer, due to extensive leaks and damages. Parks and Recreation estimated it would cost $20,000 to fix. Former District 10 Councilmember Wayne New gained approval from Mayor Michael B. Hancock to use district funds to pay for the repairs. Similar repairs were made last summer as well as in years past.

This fall, the city will also begin on initial geotechnical work, Karvaski said. The ground surrounding the pool will be examined to see what types of issues have happened overtime. As of now, the city is estimating that construction on the pool will begin sometime in 2021.

The pool is one of the city’s oldest and was built in 1955.

Bond money approved by Denver voters in 2017 will be used for the project. Karvaski said the pool received $8.3 million for renovation costs from the bond.

She added that the city will hold another meeting in October. The time and location have not been determined yet.

“The design process will include various means of gathering community input to ensure the Congress Park Pool remains a special and valued asset for the neighborhood,” Karvaski said. “Local neighborhood organizations, schools, and community groups are encouraged to be involved.”


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