City officials confirmed Wednesday they are not moving forward in contract negotiations with Larkin Aquatics. Larkin Aquatics was the first choice to help design a new city pool to be finished by 2014.
“We’ve tried our best to get a contract with them, and I’m ready to move on,” Director of Operations James Bryce said.
The issue stemmed from the wording of the contract, he said. The company wanted a word deleted from the contract, and it was not something the city was willing to leave out.
The News-Star previously reported that the issue had to do with safety of those using the pool, however Bryce explained that it was more of a legal issue to protect the city.
City Attorney Mary Ann Karns said the typical wording in such contracts would require the architect or engineer to agree to “indemnify, defend and hold the City harmless,” if a lawsuit arose over the design or during construction of the pool.
Karns explained that this protects the city from a lawsuit in which they would not be at fault. It does not however, transfer liability to the company if a lawsuit occurred due to the maintenance and operation of the pool, she said.
Karns further explained that the company wanted the word “defend” deleted from the contract. This would open the city up for liability when they may not be at fault, she said.
Karns added that she has never encountered a situation in which an entity wanted the word deleted.
Because the city and the company could not come to an agreement, Bryce said he will be contacting Waters Edge “first thing” Thursday, to hopefully begin contract negotiations with them.
The current pool cannot be used due to a need for renovations. The pool was built before World War II and did not have many renovations up to now. It was closed several times last summer due to sand leaking in and cracks at the bottom of the pool.