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Duncan converts historic pool into splash pad

DUNCAN, Okla._Demolition is underway in Duncan as one historic pool is removed to make way for the city's newest recreational project.

The $180,000 splash pad is scheduled to open by late August and will take the place of the Douglass Park pool which has been closed for the past three years. But not everyone sees the project as a positive for the community.

"That's a part of history, that's a part of me...that they're taking out. It's a part of me," said Larry Culberson, a man who used to go to Douglass Park Pool.

Culberson says some of his most vivid memories growing up were had at the Douglass Park Pool.

"I learned how to swim in that pool. The older kids back in the day, if you didn't know how to swim, you learned real quick because they'd push you in," explained Culberson.

He, along with other folks we spoke to, are upset to see the pool come down that's helped to cool off Douglass Park since 1955. While many echo his sentimental feelings, Culberson says he's worried the splash pad isn't going to cut it and it goes much deeper than just memories.

"What do we have for the teenagers, the middle schoolers and high schoolers, what in this community do we have left? You have nothing for them to do but roam the streets, and 90% of the time, get in trouble," said Culberson.

City officials said the cost of maintenance of the pool was just too much to handle.

"It took a tremendous amount of maintenance and repair each and every year. It's basically worn out. It's outlived its life," said Dana Stanley, Duncan Parks and Recreation superintendent.

By putting a splash pad in at Douglass Park, the city hopes to be saving much more than just money.

"The initial filling between it will save 123,000 gallons. Instead of 125,000 gallons here, we'll put 2,000 in the spray park. It'll be rejuvenated and treated throughout...so considerable water savings. Per capita, it will have more people at the splash park in one day than this swimming pool had in one season," explained Stanley.

As crews prep the pool to be filled with concrete, Culberson said he's sad to see it go, but his family will cope.

"When they put it up, I'll take my granddaughters down there...my grandsons...I'll take them down there and let them play. But you're hurting this community when you take stuff like that out," said Culberson.

Once demolition is complete, the city of Duncan plans to recycle the concrete materials that make up the Douglass Park Pool to prevent erosion in other parts of town.


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