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The closure of the former Orchard Mesa Middle School is prompting a conversation surrounding the fate of the Orchard Mesa Community Pool. On Wednesday, City Council members discussed the pool in executive session in order to “provide instructions to negotiators,” said Greg LeBlanc, senior assistant to the city manager. The pool is jointly funded by the city of Grand Junction, Mesa County and School District 51.

Several Orchard Mesa residents gathered Saturday to talk about what, if anything, they can do to help save their neighborhood pool, and they received some news that was unexpected, but encouraging.

Grand Junction Mayor Rick Taggart told about 50 people at the meeting that the city sent a letter Friday to the other two entities that jointly operate the pool — Mesa County and School District 51 — proposing to jointly pay for the repairs needed to keep the facility open.

That proposal, however, comes with a high cost. Since repairs at the Orchard Mesa pool are expected to be about $2.5 million, each entity would have to kick in $850,000 each, the mayor said.

“Assuming City Council would do that because we’re making this proposal, we would pay our third of it if our other two partners would pay their share of it, too,” Taggart said. “If we can get all partners to agree, the second part of the proposal is that the city and county would share 50-50 the operating expenses from that point onward.”

Taggart, however, told those in attendance not to get their hopes up too high because he doesn’t know if the city and the other two entities will agree.

The Mesa County Board of Commissioners is expected to have a closed-door meeting about the pool when its members meet on Monday.

No formal vote by any of the entities has been scheduled, but Taggart encouraged the residents who met at the Eagle View Learning Center across from Orchard Mesa Middle School to continue to lobby all three to come up with a solution that would keep the pool open.

“I wish I could tell you how the other partners are going to react because I don’t know,” he said. “All three partners are very much aware that the maintenance has been left way too long. What you all could help us with is, as you put pressure on us to do something, you put pressure on the other two entities as well.”

Earlier this month, the school district announced that it can no longer keep the pool open because of its state grant that funded the construction of a new middle school, which doesn’t have a pool. It offered to transfer the property to the city or county, or both, but only if they accept the cost of repair and maintenance.

Other entities that some of the neighbors suggested approaching if the city’s proposal is rejected include St. Mary’s Medical Center, Community Hospital and the Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center, which conducts swim-therapy courses at the pool for veterans.

The operation of the facility, which was built in 1983, is overseen by the Orchard Mesa Pool Board, a three-member advisory panel that includes members from each entity.

The pool board is to meet in public at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Stocker Stadium/Suplizio Field Hospitality Suite, 1315 North Ave., to discuss the matter in a meeting open to the public.

That same evening, another neighborhood meeting is to be held at 6 p.m. at the Lincoln Orchard Mesa Elementary School, 2888 B 1/2 Road.

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