UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. – Summer is quickly approaching, and people are wondering when the 90-year-old pool at Heman Park will reopen. It shut down last summer after historic flooding damaged the pool and park.
“I’ve been coming here for probably 50 years, and so stepkids, grandkids, everybody here,” said Patrick Maloney. “It would be a shame to see it go away.”
He’s one of the many residents who want to see it reopen.
Fences are still down, and there is a sign that shows the height of the flood waters in 2022. During the historic flooding on July 26, the River Des Peres reached a height of more than 19 feet.
“All kinds of trash and debris that was washed downstream. So we had trash cans from God knows where,” said Darren Dunkle, director of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry for University City. “We had all kinds of litter, limbs, all sorts of things.”
He said all of the debris, silt, and mud made their way into the pool pumps.
“The biggest things that you can’t see are our biggest damages. We had about $418,000 worth of damage to our electrical system,” Dunkle said.
He said the pool building has a lot of damage as well.
“We also have other electrical systems within the pump rooms. The guard room was flooded out; the manager’s office flooded out,” Dunkle said.
Dunkle said the city is working with FEMA for funding, but he said it is a long process. He said the cost of the repairs for just the pool is more than $760,000.
“As of right now, we do not have a timeline when FEMA is going to make a determination,” Dunkle said. “Our biggest thing is right now we are not eligible for reimbursement from FEMA if we move forward with projects prior to their approval.”
The goal is to hopefully reopen the pool sometime this summer.
“The pool has always been where families can come, you meet your neighbors,” Maloney said. “You can hang out and take the kids to get an ice cream cone or a hotdog. It would be a shame if future generations didn’t have access to this opportunity.”