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Demolition begins on Druid Hills pool
Martinsville Public Works crew members work to dismantle the old Druid Hills Pool on Indian Trail. The pool, which had been open since the 1950s, was dismantled after being found in violation of the city’s nuisance ordinance. (Bulletin photo)
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
A once-popular recreational attraction that in recent years had become an eyesore is being demolished.
The old Druid Hills Pool on Indian Trail had been in violation of Martinsville’s nuisance ordinance for at least several years, according to city Deputy Fire Marshal/Property Maintenance Inspector Andy Powers.
City documents show there have been frequent problems with soil erosion, weeds, standing water and mosquitoes at the pool, and a sink hole formed over a creek at the front of the property. The hole was filled with dirt so crews could get to the pool to start the demolition last week.
The pool itself was a hazard, officials have said, because children or animals could fall in and get hurt.
Powers said he recently found the pool full of water but not the chlorinated kind in which people typically swim. It was rainwater, he said, and it had to be pumped out before the demolition could start.
The pool facility dates to the late 1950s. It contained an adult pool, a kiddie pool and a bathhouse.
Dr. Craig Dietrich, a local dentist, remembered the pool as being “a hopping place” when he was growing up.
“In the summertime, it was really busy,” Dietrich said.
He recalled there had been a membership limit of 200 families, but he had been told there once had been the same number of families on a waiting list to join.
However, membership eventually declined, which led to the pool closing a few years ago.
Dietrich, who once was affiliated with Forest Hills Recreation Enterprises, which operated the pool, said he could not recall the exact circumstances surrounding the membership drop, but economic factors might have been involved.
A lot of the families that were members seemed to be those of DuPont employees, he recalled. DuPont closed its local factory in 1998.
State Corporation Commission records show that Forest Hills Recreation Enterprises ceased to exist about six years ago.
As a result, “nobody was really in charge” of the property now, Powers said.
A city public works crew is demolishing the pool. Powers did not know yet how much it will cost, but he estimated it will be “very minimal” because razed concrete and brick can be dumped in the pool and covered up.
“There’s a bunch of concrete in there,” he said, noting that the pool’s walls alone were more than 12 inches thick. He did not know how that compares to most contemporary swimming pools.
Basically “anything that won’t rot” and possibly cause the ground to cave in can be dumped in the pool, Powers said.
Construction materials that can rot, such as wood, will have to be removed and disposed of elsewhere, he added.
After the pool structure is filled, Powers said, it will be seeded with grass and covered with straw to help it “return to a naturally wooded lot.”
Demolition is expected to take about a week, maybe a little longer, he said.
“It’s always a shame to lose something that’s been in the community for a long time,” Dietrich said.