Proposed budget cuts would close Augustus Brown Swimming Pool

The Augustus Brown facility includes two pools, a sauna and an exercise area. (Photo by Aaron Russell)

The Augustus Brown facility includes two pools, a sauna and an exercise area. (Photo by Aaron Russell)

Juneau City Manager Kim Kiefer is expected to detail her proposed budget cuts to the Assembly Finance Committee on Wednesday, as the city faces a $12 million shortfall over the next two budget years.

On Tuesday, Kiefer told the city’s Aquatics Facilities Advisory Board she would recommend temporarily mothballing the Augustus Brown Swimming Pool downtown. According advisory board member Tom Rutecki, the pool would close Nov. 4 this year through either the mid-2015 or mid-2016. During the closure the city would assess the cost of renovating the facility.

Rutecki says the manager did not mention how the plan would impact employees. He says hours would be extended at the Dimond Park Aquatic Center in the Mendenhall Valley.

Kiefer was unavailable for comment.

Rutecki says closing the pool would affect many Juneau residents, including students taking water safety courses, seniors in water aerobics classes and members of the Glacier Swim Club.

“There’s a pretty strong clientele that goes down there, especially people right now—legislators use it and state office workers at noon. And in the morning the place is packed, if you go to the 6 o’clock lap swim it’s like 3 to 4 people to a lane,” Rutecki says.

He says he suggested to the manager that the city lease or rent the pool to the Glacier Swim Club, which has a wait list for people wanting to join.

Kiefer told the committee that there would be cuts to other Parks and Recreation programs discussed in the finance committee meeting.