The Queen Anne’s County Commissioners voted unanimously to sign an agreement that will transfer the operation of the indoor swimming pool at Chesapeake College to the county for three years. The college board of trustees also is expected to vote on the agreement. Earlier this year, the college board of trustees voted to close the pool, citing the need for expensive repairs, estimated at between $750,000 and $1-million and the fact that the college ran an annual deficit of $50,000 in operating the pool. Local residents rallied to keep the pool open, citing its importance as the only public swimming pool in the county.
The local residents formed a citizens group, Chesapeake Pool Revitalization LLC, which submitted a proposal to the college to operate the pool. The county got involved in the negotiations and offered to take over operation of the pool and get necessary short-term repairs done to keep it open for a few more years. Technical experts are recommending an estimated $67,380 in repairs to keep the pool operating for another three to five years.
County Chief Operating Officer Gregg Todd said the three-year lease agreement would begin September 1, and it would allow the county to transfer the operation of the pool to a third party. The county plans to have the Talbot County YMCA operate the pool. If the county selects a third party other than the Y, the college board of trustees would first have to give its approval. No rental fee will be charged by the college for the county to operate the pool, but Todd said the county will have to pay the costs for electricity and propane, which are estimated at $46,000 a year. He said fees paid by pool users would offset some of the utility costs. Assuming the college approves the agreement, Todd said the county would almost immediately close the pool and begin the repairs, which should be completed by mid-November.