Physically challenged Gahanna residents who need assistance into one of the city's pools will find help this summer.

Physically challenged Gahanna residents who need assistance into one of the city's pools will find help this summer.

Gahanna parks and recreation director Tony Collins has requested that the mayor enter into a contract with OP Aquatics for the purchase of pool (handicap chair) lifts for the Gahanna pool and the Hunters Ridge pool in the amount of approximately $20,300.

Collins said the final deadline is approaching to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.

On Sept. 15, 2010, the ADA guidelines (finalized in July 2004) were signed into law and require compliance by all public and commercial entities, including recreation facilities, such as swimming pools, wading pools and spas.

After the lifts are installed, the city will be ADA-compliant, Collins said.

"We're choosing the best option for our customers," he said. "We felt this was the way to meet the needs of our customers."

Council member Stephen Renner asked how many people would use the equipment.

Collins said he's unaware of anyone being turned away from the pools as a result of accessibility.

"With the knowledge of equipment not being there, it could be a deterrent from coming," he said. "This could make a user's experience more enjoyable for folks who have limited physical ability."

Council member Beryl Anderson said the city also could reach out to residents who are going through physical rehabilitation.

Collins said more than 4,000 residents use the city's two swimming pools and that a strong professional staff leads the aquatics centers. He said the summer pool season has ended with a positive balance for the past two years.

In addition to a request for the lifts, council is considering a request in the amount of $14,800 to enter into contract with W.M. Smith & Associates Inc. for the purchase of four lifeguard chairs and stands for the front pool at the Gahanna swimming pool, formerly the Gahanna Swim Club.

Collins said the existing chairs are rusted to the point they are no longer safe. The frames are steel tubes and are rusting.

The new chairs are required to continue to operate the front pool at the Gahanna swimming pool, Collins said.