Cuscaden Pool broken despite multi-million renovatoin

- A historic public pool in Ybor City is broken and closed just months after undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation -  and Tampa City Council members Thursday took to task city employees responsible for contracting out the work.

The Cuscaden Pool, which has been a stable in the Ybor area since the 1930s, reopened to an enormous celebration in August 2016.

Months later, however, the city was forced to close it again after one of the pool's three drains broke.

"There are three main drains. One of them did fail, [which] caused all the water to leak out of the pool," said Mike Chucran, the city's Contract Administration Director.

Chucran told City Council because the pool had been dry since he initially closed in 2009, the sun and heat and created issues that went unnoticed during inspections. After the pool was filled back up, the weight of the water broke one of the drains.

Councilman Frank Reddick, who fought for the funding that paid for the initial renovation, was furious.

"Those people who utilize that pool deserve to raise pure hell because what is happening in this city is a disgrace," Reddick said. "We shouldn't be here talking about Cuscaden Pool being closed. We just  invested over three-point-two million dollars."

Chucran's office ironed out a $10,000 deal that he said would repair the broken drain and reinforce the other two drains.

He expects the pool to be open by Memorial Day.

"I believe the solution we have in place is going to be the long-term fix for that," he said.

Reddick, however, expressed concern this is just a cheap, quick fix aimed at satisfying an angry public.

"Get the thing done right," he told Chucran. "That's what those people are asking for. Get the thing done right. Stop doing it a cheap way."

Chucran reiterated he believes this will be both cost-effective and will effectively keep the pool running for the foreseeable future.

Councilman Mike Suarez, meanwhile, said he can't understand why the city, and not the original contractor, is having to foot the bill so soon after the work was finished.

"To not have any recourse for them, that's unconscionable," Suarez said. "We do not want to keep  spending good money after bad because we can't fix one single problem and we haven't done enough of  an inspection."

Chucran said the contractor did inspect the drain after completing work. He said he's not sure if that company can be held liable based on the contract they signed with the city.

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