Neighbors worry over noise from pool
Shawnee city officials will meet next week with residents to discuss concerns about the new East Pool, now under construction.
The meeting, at 4:30 p.m. July 26 at City Hall, will provide information about the plans, landscaping and screening for the new pool. The meeting was arranged in response to concerns expressed by congregation members of nearby churches at a recent City Council meeting.
Members of the First Baptist Church of Shawnee and St. Joseph Catholic Church, both located on properties just across the street from the new pool at Johnson Drive and King Street, told the Council at its July 10 meeting they were worried about the effect noise at the pool would have on the solemnity of their services.
Gary Brown, a member of St. Joseph's, said he didn't represent the churches, but he spoke for 250 Shawnee residents and church members who were in favor of a new pool but were concerned with the pool's proximity to the churches. He asked that the city put the matter on a Council agenda for discussion.
Brown said the solution the group favored was for the city to put a wall around the pool to reduce noise and enhance safety. He also suggested that the pool not play background music over its speaker system.
While the Council took no official action at the July 10 meeting, Mayor Jeff Meyers told those present that the city would try to be a good neighbor and would look into the matter. However, he told Brown there was little chance the city would consider the first solution the group was offering.
"I can assure you that we can't take on building a wall at this time," Meyers said.
Meyers said with the city's current budget crunch, it could not afford to build a wall. He also said that the city had been discussing the pool and its location for three years and had chosen the spot because of its high visibility, so a wall would be counterproductive.
Pool hours and church services do not overlap for the most part. St. Joseph has mass at 7:30, 9 and 10:30 a.m. and at noon on Sundays. Saturday masses are at 8:15 a.m. and 5 p.m. Weekday masses are at 6:25 and 8:15 a.m. First Baptist Church has services and Bible studies at 9:15 and 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sundays, as well as Wednesday evenings after 6:30.
Neil Holman, director of parks and recreation, said the new pool hours have not officially been determined, but they would likely follow the hours of the Soetaert Aquatic Center, from 12:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Plans for the East Pool include a slide, wave pool and a water playground with an Under the Sea theme. Construction of the pool will include improvements to King Street, the pool parking lot and another small parking lot at 58th and King.
The Council approved final plans for the East Pool March 27 of this year and then awarded a construction contract for the pool May 8.
Plans are for the new pool to be finished in time to open next Memorial Day. The new pool is just a block from the existing East Pool at 57th and Cody. Once the new pool is open, the existing pool will be closed and demolished to make room for the expansion of Shawnee Town.