A proposal to renovate the Memphis swimming pool to offer the opportunity to host local swim meets is proving more costly than first expected, likely putting the move on hold.

The Memphis City Council on January 5th discussed bid estimates for the proposed removal and replacement of the ramp at the north end of the municipal swimming pool.

The project had been proposed by the local swim team, since the walk-in entrance to the pool runs nearly the entire length of the north end of the swim area, in essence, shortening the length of the pool while also not providing a solid, consistent wall area for start and finish areas for races.

The council, while open to the concept of making changes to accommodate the swim team, balked at the initial price tag of $18,000 for demolition of the concrete ramp. Estimates were much more reasonable for replacing the ramp with a battery-power lift chair, which could be done for less than $2,000.

Superintendent Roy Monroe discussed the cost estimates, suggesting the work would likely need to be performed with a hydraulic arm on a backhoe, which would produce significant pressure and impact on the pool’s walls and bottom, since the existing ramp is all one piece of poured concrete, which was pinned to both the side and bottom of the pool.

Alderman Lucas Remley echoed Monroe’s concerns regarding the dangers such a project would pose for the pool’s structural integrity.

He also  suggested the high price tag likely was indicative of such concerns on the contractor’s part, as in order to insure as little damage as possible to the pool walls and floor, the demolition likely would require a multitude of drill points to be made into the ramp, to allow breaking points for the concrete to follow when the impact tools were implemented, in essence creating fault patterns in the concrete ramp that would hopefully break before the non-drilled walls and floor.

The council agreed to seek additional opinions on the scope and nature of the concrete work required to make the changes to the pool, noting the project would have to be tabled if less costly alternatives are not identified.