Renovations discussed for community center and pool | News

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Renovations discussed for community center and pool
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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The Willie Galimore Community Center in the Lincolnville neighborhood of St. Augustine offers all sorts of programs and activities, such as summer camp this week.

"It's an asset to the community," said Jim Piggott, the General Services Director for the City of St. Augustine.  

However, it's the swimming pool -- with green water and gunk on the sides -- that is not up to standards and is closed off.

"The city commission said, "'Yes, we want to operate the pool.'"

Money is the issue, and there's a history here.

A sign in front of the Galimore Center still says it is run by St. Johns County.

It's not.

Last year, as a way to cut costs, the county handed the center and the pool back over to the city, but the pool was in bad shape.

A recent city study determined it will cost $295,000 to renovate the pool.

"You're never going to make money on a pool," Piggott said, "but the Galimore center as a building -- if renovated the right way -- can attract smaller weddings and parties."

The city sees the center as a possible rental hall.

So city staff is considering renovating the Galimore Center as well so the building itself can generate money.

According to a city study, building renovation estimates run anywhere from $50,000 - $200,000.

St. Johns County gave the city $400,000 when it gave the pool back to the city.

Piggott said $40,000 has been used to operate the Galimore Center.  The remaining money could be used for renovations.

He said city commissioners want to open the pool by next May for five months at a time.

The building is "sitting there and it can be used for so much more if we can find the money," Piggott noted.

The city will discuss funding options in budget meetings this summer so the community center and pool can be an even bigger part of the community.

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