VERONA — The pool at Natural Chimneys Park and Campground will get a face-lift, the first major upgrade in 20 years.
Last week, the Augusta County Board of Supervisors approved a $163,000 contract to renovate the pool at the county park near Mount Solon.
During its meeting Wednesday, the board awarded the contract to National Pools of Roanoke, one of three contractors to show interest in the project, but the only one to submit a bid that met the county’s requirements.
The work is to take place during the park’s off-season, starting Sept. 16, and finish by April 1.
According to County Administrator Timothy Fitzgerald, in an agenda briefing memo to the board, work will include renovating the park’s main pool and upgrading the main pool’s pump house equipment. When a 10% contingency fee is included, the total cost of the project rises to $179,300.
Fitzgerald said the last time the pool was resurfaced was in 1999. Plaster and fiberglass concrete pool surfaces typically are good for 10 to 15 years, he said.
National Pools of Roanoke also is to make safety improvements and add pool stairs to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.
The county declined to go forward on a proposal to convert the existing wading pool into a splash pad. National Pools’ bid on the work, which had been estimated at $87,000, came in at $124,500, plus an additional $24,900 to install an equipment shelter and vault. This would have brought the total project cost to more than $312,000.
Although county staff didn’t recommend going forward with the splash pad at this time, they did suggest that the board revisit the project at some point. According to the staff recommendation, the “tot pool” has been a great amenity for families with young children, but problems and additional cost arise in meeting the criteria set out by code to create a splash pad.
Issues cited by staff include a requirement that an independent circulation system be installed. Also, a splash pad’s entry area must be no more than 9 inches in depth, while the current wading pool has no area that shallow, according to the memo.
Natural Chimneys, in addition to hosting special events such as the annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival, has a 165-site family-oriented campground, 2.5 miles of combined hiking and biking trails and other amenities.
Augusta County has owned the 127-acre park since 2009 with the dissolution of the Upper Valley Regional Park Authority. The authority, comprising Augusta and Rockingham counties, Staunton and Harrisonburg, dissolved in part because of budget cuts.
In addition to Natural Chimneys, the regional authority also had managed Grand Caverns, which the town of Grottoes annexed in 2010.