City of Bartow conducting survey on proposed pool and aquatics program location options

The city of Bartow is proposing bringing back their pool and aquatics program after it was shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beverly Palmer and her husband, John, own "Two Crazy Nuts" in downtown Bartow, an ice cream and candy store.

"Our goal was to bring local products into our store, to give local people a storefront, and to give the customer local products they normally wouldn't get," said Palmer.

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She says the city doesn't have a lot of entertainment options for kids besides the swimming pool at the Bartow Civic Center, which has been closed down now for four years because of COVID and mechanical issues.

But, the city has plans to bring their aquatics program back.

"We want to do swimming lessons and programs for all ages. Bringing back an area to exercise for lap swimming," said Jason Hargrove, the city's director of Parks and Recreation. 

The city wants feedback on two location options for the new facility. One is at the Oaks Building on North Wilson Avenue, which would include refurbishing the vacant building. The second is at the Civic Center, which requires removing and replacing the old pool. 

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Both options include a splash pad and event pavilion.

The city wants to bring back fun and exercise, but they mainly want to promote safety.

"I read this morning there have been 60 drowning deaths in 2024, so far, in the state of Florida," said Hargrove. "Bringing the aquatics center back will allow us to teach those swimming lessons and provide those drowning prevention methods that we'd like to program within our department and keep our numbers in Polk County low, especially here in Bartow." 

Palmer said she prefers revamping the Oaks Center as it's closer to downtown and would increase foot traffic to her store.

"I think it would bring families to downtown Bartow," said Palmer. "We want a constant and to fill up these storefronts with different stores so that Bartow would be a draw down here."

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The city will be holding a community meeting about the program on Thursday, July 11, from 6-8 p.m. in Commissioner Chambers at City Hall. Another meeting to discuss the results will take place on Friday, July 26, at a City Commission workshop at 9 a.m. in Commission Chambers at City Hall.

They're also conducting a survey to see which option the community prefers. The deadline is Friday, July 19. For more information, click here


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