Bexley contracts with Loveland-based SwimSafe to operate pool

Chris Bournea
ThisWeek
City of Bexley

The Bexley City Council on Jan. 26 approved a contract with SwimSafe Pool Management to operate the David H. Madison Community Pool this season.  

The contract with the Loveland-based company is worth $185,000 and was awarded after council suspended rules and adopted Ordinance 2-21 at the legislation’s second reading at the urging of Michael Price, director of the Parks and Recreation Department.  

The ordinance will move $210,000 from the park department’s salary and wages budget section into a new line item called “Pool Management Contract,” according to Price. 

At its Jan. 13 meeting, the city’s recreation board approved a resolution to award the contract.   

“You might ask why $210,000, when the contract’s $185,000,” Price said. “If we wanted to add (events at the pool) above and beyond what we’ve already scheduled for the RFP (request for proposal), there’s an hourly cost. (SwimSafe) structure their RFP based on the number of hours and the number of staff. There’s a contractual rate of $280 per hour above and beyond (the RFP), so it gives a little bit of wiggle room.”  

Bexley did not to open the pool in 2020 due to the estimated increased costs of safety protocols related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and the Recreation and Parks Department explored hiring an outside vendor last year to increase operating efficiencies. Price said the SwimSafe contract enables the department to modify its financial obligations to the company if the coronavirus again affects the pool’s opening this year. 

“There will be language in the contract that protects the city in the event that COVID hits or that it impacts our ability to open or adjust how we have to open,” Price said.  

He said SwimSafe submitted the lowest bid to a request for proposal (RFP) that the department sent out last year. Before selecting SwimSafe as the successful bidder, officials consulted with several municipalities that have worked with the company, said Natalie Mullin, recreation and parks deputy director. 

“We heard no major concerns,” she said. 

SwimSafe President Karl Weidner said the company tailors its services to each community.  

“We like to have a lot of communication,” he said. “We like to understand the culture of each pool and the cadence of everything that happens around the pool.” 

Jacob Hooker, SwimSafe Columbus general manager, said he frequented the pool while growing up in Bexley. He said the company plans to hire local staff.  

“Once I work with the rec departments and the different resources they have and can show them that we’ve exhausted all resources to retain previous staff members and to recruit new staff members within their community, that’s the only time when we would venture outside of the Bexley community, and it would just be to the surrounding areas,” Hooker said. 

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