There are renewed calls for attention to be turned to the William Birch Pool in the hopes an improvement can be made.
The surrounds of the concrete pool is in a park and rest stop area on State Highway 3 near Maxwell, and was once a popular spot for freshwater swimming in the region.
But in contrast to its heyday, the pool no longer holds swimming water and is instead a home for silt and weeds.
Three years ago Whanganui District Council was discussing the matter following a push by Richard White and Ray Hina, who tried to get council to take on a bigger role with the pool.
White said his family has a strong connection to the site which was always a great setup.
"My father as kid, he and his mates blocked the stream and used to swim down there and eventually it became a swimming pool.
"My sister did her lifesaving training in the pool, and as kids we used to go down there and spend time."
White said it would be worthwhile to enhance the site.
"It's a beautiful area, and we proposed that it was the gateway from South Taranaki into Whanganui," he said.
"Even though [Maxwell] is south of the South Taranaki border, it was an attractive entry to come down the hill and had a real appeal.
"The council just dropped the ball basically and we didn't feel like we had to keep going at it."
After pushing the district council to do something with the pool, White believes council should lead any potential changes rather than a community led initiative that already came up short.
"With all these things there has to be a buy-in from the community as well, but I do think this time [council] needs to lead it and not expect the community to be relied on.
"[Council] mow the Maxwell cenotaph lawn and maintain the cemetery, so they do invest in the area and the [pool] would be the only other area they'd have to invest in.
"Just return it back to an area where it can be appreciated as a stream flowing through would more than suffice."
Councillor Alan Taylor helped White and Hina bring the matter before council, but said there was "no appetite to do anything about it".
Taylor said the state the pool is disappointing, especially when considering it may be some visitors' first stop when entering the Whanganui district.
"The place could be improved considerably but I'm not a landscape gardener so I don't know what you do with a big concrete pool.
"Maybe turn it into something else, maybe a water feature; however council doesn't have the money for that."
Although the pool may look somewhat neglected, the district council does have a role in the area's upkeep.
"The council maintains the fences and mows the lawns but that's all they've got budget for, and what's clearly happened is that because the water isn't swimmable anymore, the pool fills up with water weed and silt," Taylor said.
"Council digs it out occasionally and whenever it gets really bad but it's never-ending and non-productive result because you've just got an empty concrete pool and the process starts again."
Whanganui Rural Community Board chairman Grant Skilton said the pool will be brought before the board for discussion.
"My personal opinion is if there was a will within the community to maybe do something else with the pool other than a swimming pool, it could be a nice reserve," he said.
"If there's no will to do anything with it then maybe it should be closed.
"Either do something with it or close it, those are the options because leaving it as it is is not great."
A Whanganui District Council spokeswoman said council owns the William Birch Reserve, which is classified in the parks and open spaces strategy as having 'passive park status'.
"[It] refers to land previously classified as 'neighbourhood' or 'open space' reserve.
"William Birch Reserve might be more suitably classified as a conservation park and this may be looked at in a future strategy."
The spokeswoman confirmed poor water quality makes the pool unsafe for swimming.
"The valve in the pool is kept open to help silt wash through, but it still accumulates quickly.
"Cleaning the pool, shutting the valve and allowing the pool to fill would encourage people to swim in it, which is not advisable."
In August last year about 40 Ngā Rauru iwi members and volunteers planted trees above the waterfall at Ototoka Beach as part of a larger project to clean the Ototoka Stream, which connects to the William Birch Pool.
Ngā Rauru has also planted further upstream on private and council-owned land adjoining SH3 and William Birch Pool.
Horizons Regional Council have been approached for comment.