Originally created 07/18/02

Park's pools need work

The reflecting pools at Springfield Village Park in Augusta are reflecting problems - scum and trash.

Officials say hot weather and improper maintenance of the park's complex series of pools have created a thick layer of unsightly algae in the circular pool and five reflecting pools.

Trash littered the bottom of the circular pool beneath the Tower of Aspirations on Wednesday, but it probably won't be there today.

Springfield Village Foundation President Robert Kirby said the problems will be resolved immediately.

"I'm hoping things will be done tonight to remedy this," he said by phone Wednesday from Washington.

The $3 million first phase of the $6 million park at 12th and Reynolds streets was dedicated in February. The park honors the 18th century black residents of Springfield Village.

The nonprofit Springfield Foundation, which is separate from Springfield Baptist Church, owns the 2-acre park.

Mr. Kirby said he takes "total responsibility" for the condition of the pools.

"I've been updated on the situation, and I'm very upset," he said.

Mr. Kirby said he noticed algae growing several weeks ago but thought the problem had been remedied.

"I had a verbal assurance that the fountain area had been drained and cleaned and chemicals had been put in," he said. "What did happen was the chemicals were put in, but it wasn't drained and cleaned, and the chemicals weren't adequate to do the job."

He said he was out of town and didn't go to the park to follow up and see that the work was done.

"I was afraid this might happen, and sure enough, my worst fears have materialized," he said.

An inspection of pumps and filters late Wednesday indicated the circulation system was not working, Mr. Kirby said.

Devane Batchelor, the co-owner of Allen-Batchelor Construction Co., which built the park, met with Mr. Kirby's representative Wednesday afternoon to inspect the system.

"It's a maintenance issue," Mr. Batchelor said. "When we turned the park over to them back in February, it was fine and working."

The foundation contracted with Ken Powell of Augusta to maintain the park. Mr. Powell said he had not been properly instructed on maintaining the pools but had been putting chemicals into the system.

"We've been trying hard to get the algae out," he said. "We scoop it out, but it comes right back."

Mr. Powell said he had seen no circulation in the pools.

"That problem is beyond my control," he said.

Keeping the trash out of the park has been a bigger problem than anticipated, said Mr. Kirby. People have even thrown tires into the pools. Skateboarders also have done some damage, he said.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylviaco@augustachronicle.com.


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