Park officials hope to make a big splash with their new plan to reopen a smaller version of the Osborn Park pool, which has been closed for two years.
Representatives of two companies told the Erie MetroParks board Wednesday that a smaller, shallower pool could be opened at the closed pool's site for about $600,000.
Steve Dice, executive director of Erie MetroParks, said be believes it would be possible to raise the necessary money using a combination of grants and donations.
Park board members Micah Vawters, Kurt Landefeld and Tom Dusza apparently believe the plan has promise. They voted 3-0 Wednesday to authorize Dice to go out for requests for proposals for the project.
The Erie MetroParks board closed the pool in 2006 after a bond issue that would have built a new pool failed.
Vawters, who has small children, has been particularly outspoken about the need to provide a pool for local families. Dice promised to try to make that happen when he became the park system's director late last year.
Charles DeCaro, president of North America Mazur, a company that provides slides and features to waterparks, put the proposal together for Dice. DeCaro's five-employee company, which supplied the slides used by the Rain indoor waterpark, moved from Norwalk to Sandusky about two weeks ago.
DeCaro said he believes his $593,000 estimate for the new pool will turn out to be accurate. Construction could be carried out in about 180 days, he said.
Steve Perry, contract administrator for Astro Pool Company of Mansfield, Ohio, said the relatively cheap price for the pool can be obtained by using the existing pool as a shell and building a new stainless-steel pool inside it.
"That's a great way to save a lot of money," Perry said.
Some of the pools built with the same design in the 1970s are still operating, Perry said.
"If you've ever been to Monsoon Lagoon, they have the same system," he said.
The result will be a pool that's smaller and shallower than the old Osborn Park pool -- no area will be deeper than five feet -- but can be used for swimming lessons, swimming laps for exercise and keeping kids happy, DeCaro said. The former deep end of the pool with a diving board would be partially filled in, he said.
The pool would have slides, and an area would be devoted to devices that will spray water on smaller children and entertain them, DeCaro said.
"They'll spend hours cooling off with those sprays," DeCaro said.