closed in November 2012, after finding the structure in danger of collapse.OLD FOURTH WARD — The Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs is closer to picking a replacement site for the Martin Luther King Jr. Natatorium, which it
A decision could come as early as next month, George Dusenbury, the city's parks and recreation commissioner, told East Atlanta Patch in an interview this week.
A working list of nine potential sites has been narrowed down to three, he said.
He declined to say where those three sites are, citing there are several steps that need to be met before proceeding.
But the target replacement area is west of Boulevard, east of the Connector, north of DeKalb Avenue and south of Freedom Parkway, Dusenbury said.
The project is projected to cost at least $15 million, Dusenbury said, stressing it's only preliminary figure and could change.
The 1.5-acre site at 70 Boulevard NE was deemed so structurally unsound that even a weather event with winds exceeding 90 miles an hour threatened to destabilize it.
The main issue has been rainwater seeping into the structure and over time weakening it, the commissioner said.
The city did some structural repairs to fix the building's girders, but that was a temporary solution because the problem came back.
Dusenbury said the issue stems from the natatorium's original construction back in the 1970s.
After closing the natatorium, patrons where redirected to use the swimming pool at King Middle School in Grant Park, but that is only meant to be a temporary fix.
The parks department wants to get to its own space because operating from a public school presents its own set of challenges.
With school safety and security a top concern across the country, having people wanting to use the pool who weren't connected to King Middle on a continual basis would be an issue, longterm, Dusenbury said.
In addition, the pool at King Middle, unlike the natatorium, doesn't have a therapy section, he said.
After vacating the site, it would likely be turned into some sort of public space, the commissioner said. By state law, the city is barred from selling it.
While it's possible the department could stay put and simply rebuild a new natatorium, which Dusenbury said could add another $3 million to the total cost, it's remote.