West Louisville's Algonquin pool to be rebuilt, projected to open in spring 2025
Uncertainty loomed over the future of the West End’s only public pool for almost a year. Now city officials say they’ve got plans to reopen.
The only public swimming pool in west Louisville is set to be demolished later this month to make way for renovations, city officials announced Tuesday.
The new Algonquin pool will feature a family slide, a lily pad bridge, a zero-depth entry ramp, a climbing wall and a vortex, according to the Mayor’s office.
Standing alongside placards of the pool’s exterior and interior renderings, Mayor Craig Greenberg said the new pool would be the “finest” in the city.
“Because that's what the people of Algonquin deserve. That's what west Louisville deserves. And that's what Louisville residents deserve,” Greenberg said at the press conference.
Greenberg added the city would make free Wi-Fi available at Algonquin park later this week, which will also cover the Algonquin pool when it reopens around spring of 2025.
City officials plan to use an estimated $9 million of American Rescue Plan funds for renovations at the Algonquin and Camp Taylor pools. However, they say the budget still falls $2.5 million short of the estimated construction costs, according to a press release.
Metro Council Member Tammy Hawkins, a District 1 Democrat who has worked closely with Greenberg’s administration on reopening Algonquin, said the renovation is long overdue.
”When I tell you that I had been a thorn in their side, I have been a thorn. I've also been a thorn to the administration. But it's okay. As elected officials, we have to hold people accountable that we put in these seats,” she said.
Asked if there would be any programs planned for kids and families this summer while the pool is under construction, Hawkins said she was going to be working with Algonquin Community United to develop programming.
“I'm going to also entertain the YMCA and Kentucky Kingdom. We're going to give more options this year, but more structured,” she said.
The Algonquin pool limbo
Algonquin pool is surrounded by the majority-Black neighborhoods of Parkland, Park DuValle, Park Hill, Hallmark and Algonquin.
Last summer, Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation announced that the Algonquin and Camp Taylor pools would be closed for renovations after “vandalism and poor conditions” – dampening many west Louisville families’ summer plans.
Officials announced they would start renovations by Labor Day the same year and would reopen the pool for summer 2024. Some residents received YMCA and Kentucky Kingdom passes from the city after public frustration over the pool’s closure ahead of summer break. The city held a series of community input meetings in August on the future of Algonquin and Camp Taylor’s pools, but Labor Day came and went with no word on renovations.
In December, the city announced the pool would not open for the summer of 2024. Weeks later, Metro Council voted in favor of the administration redirecting $20 million in American Rescue Plan funding to parks and libraries, some of which was set aside for the Algonquin and Camp Taylor pools.
Metro Parks Director Jason Canuel told LPM in January this year that some people in the community input meetings didn’t want a pool at all, and some wanted a pool with modern amenities.
“So we kind of took all those ideas and kind of mashed them up and came up with something that should appease almost everyone,” he said.
Last year, LPM spoke to University at Buffalo History Professor Victoria Wolcott who studies the significance of public pools and recreation spaces in modern race relations.
Wolcott pointed out that the closure and devaluing of public pools can harm marginalized communities.
“When you have both vibrant commercial and public recreation in communities, people are generally, getting along better, are happier. And so we should see it as a right just the way we see things like housing and education and employment as rights,” she said.