Hillsboro City Council decides again to leave pool closed

The Hillsboro City Council held a somewhat heated meeting via zoom on Tuesday, June 2 as once again the topic of the Hillsboro Aquatic Center took center stage.

The meeting started off with a few members of the community sharing their concerns about the pool not opening.

“I don’t agree with the pool decision and I wish it would be revisited. I feel like we are hurting the most in need financially, adding to mental health and physical health deficiencies and the big, high-risk areas are opening that we will send our public out to. We all know that the virus can only come back on somebody,” said former city councilman and current county commissioner Jonah Gehring. “The chlorine is shown to kill on contact. Taxes are up and we finally have people staying local and buying local, but not opening the pool encourages people to go outside of local.”

Hillsboro business owner also expressed concerns about money leaving the county with the pool staying closed.

“We need the city to help us maintain our businesses from a marketing standpoint and from creating an atmosphere that is productive,” said Suderman.

Councilmember Renee Gehring made a motion to readdress the opening of the Hillsboro pool in the safest way possible.

“I have had time to reflect from our last meeting and I understand the safety concerns that have been expressed. My concern is the consequences of the action of closing the pool for the summer could be that families will choose to travel outside of Hillsboro to enjoy a day at the pool which could be bringing illness to Hillsboro and negate exactly what we are trying to avoid. It will also use their hard-earned money at pools and restaurants, decreasing the revenue that could have brought sales tax to our town,” said Gehring.

Councilmember Byron McCarty said that he received phone calls from upset community members so he did research and found that chlorine does kill the virus making swimming safe outside of anyone spitting.

“Based on the research I have done, I will second it,” said McCarty.

The council discussed it in length along with input from pool director Marci Cain and Rec Director Doug Sisk. There was debate as Sisk’s information and McCarty’s information appeared to contradict. At one point in the discussion in which there was obvious frustrations on both sides of the issue, it was indicated there would not be enough staff to run the pool anyway. Eventually the council decided to leave the pool closed for the remainder of the summer.

Thurston suggested appointing Jesse Wiebe to a new term and that Ken Klosowski be reappointed on the Planning and Development Commission. He asked that Cynthia Fleming be appointed to Board of Zone of Appeals. He also asked that Jamie

In other business, the council:

  •  approved the KDHE payment in the amount of $39, 655.28.
  •  approved payment to Elcon in the amount of $290.00.
  •  the council decided to meet in person next meeting of June 16 with social distancing in place. They will still have the Zoom option for those who wish to attend that way. That meeting will be Larry Paine’s last official meeting.
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