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As Whitehall's community pool sees more statewide visitors, funding for maintenance becomes a struggle

Posted at 7:21 PM, Aug 09, 2022

WHITEHALL — The town of Whitehall is seeing more patrons use the community pool but can’t keep up with rising costs to maintain it.

"We see quite a few people. We got people coming from—I think last week we had several families coming from all the way from Helena," said Cody Fuller.

Fuller works at the Whitehall community pool as a lifeguard. People from Bozeman to Dillon come through the doors to enjoy the small town charm the pool has to offer, but Fuller points out work needs to be done to make the experience better.

"Probably some of our waiting area. We get quite a line sometimes coming through the door and improving our locker rooms," said Fuller.

It takes more than $30,000 to maintain the outdoor pool. With a rise in inflation and a shortage of materials, it put the town in a tough spot.

"Pools are expensive. Chlorine is expensive, utilities are expensive, we’re trying to get a game plan going to sustain the life of the pool." said Allissa Christensen, Clerk and Treasurer for the Town of Whitehall.

Christenson says the town can’t keep up with the wear and tear on the pool which is currently in need of a new tarp system to replace the eight-year-old one the town has.

"On the cheaper end you’re looking at about $5,000, but to get something a little more durable which is what I would like to do so we’re not in this same situation seven years down the road—probably more like $15,000," said Christenson.

If Whitehall can’t keep up with the wear and tear that comes with running a pool, Christenson says they might have to start making cuts such as shorter hours, less staff, and higher admittance prices.

"That’s probably what we’re looking at if things get worse, but right now with the generous donations from the community we’ve been able to be okay, but we’re really just trying to plan for the future, so we don’t get into a tough spot," said Christenson.

Fuller says the pool is important because of how much enjoyment it brings to the community.

"It’s just a place to get away from work and enjoy some of your summer," said Fuller.

Donations can be dropped off at the town hall, or mailed to 207 East Legion Street, PO Box 529, Whitehall, MT 59759. If you have questions, call Allissa Christenson at 406-287-3972.