MEDFORD — City officials say they'll release funds to repair the city's two public pools.

MEDFORD — City officials say they'll release funds to repair the city's two public pools.

The City Council's directive Thursday came about a month after parks officials said Jackson Pool in west Medford and Hawthorne Pool near downtown could be closed to the public next summer because of safety concerns.

"On behalf of the 25,000 users just at Jackson I think we need to take care of the maintenance," said Councilman Bob Strosser.

The City Council at its March 19 meeting is expected to formally authorize $101,910 to repair the two city pools.

"In the meantime, we will develop the scope of work and prepare bid paperwork so we aren't wasting any time," said Brian Sjothun, Parks & Recreation Department director.

The closure of the pools would have created a gap in affordable summer recreational activities in the city next summer. Admission is $1 for children and $2 for adults, which is affordable for low-income families and those affected by the recession, some council members said.

Jackson, the more popular of the two pools, drew more than 25,000 visits in 2008. About 8,200 people turned out at Hawthorne, park employees said Thursday.

"We turn people away every day at Jackson and Hawthorne," Sjothun said.

The nearly 50-year-old ceramic tile pool at Jackson has jagged edges that already have caused swimmer injuries, parks employees said. Those tiles would be replaced in the main pool area, once the funding is authorized March 19, Sjothun said. A dive tank, which was closed in July because safety concerns, will remain off-limits because funding will not be included to repair its tiles.

Both pools lose a tremendous amount of water because of worn-out pipe and equipment joints inside the pools and outside on the decks. Jackson loses about 5,700 gallons a day, while about 6,600 gallons seep out of Hawthorne.

The joints inside and outside of the pool will be replaced.

"That will help alleviate a lot of the water loss and safety issues there," Sjothun said.

Other repairs will include replacing water supply pumps and valves and rusting filter tanks at Jackson. Surface repairs, new pool drains, new water supply pumps and other mechanical upgrades are slated for Hawthorne in addition to repairs to the bath house and diving boards.

The work is expected to be completed by the first week of June before the pool is scheduled to open to swimmers.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 776-4459 or pachen@mailtribune.com.