Will Snyderville voters take the plunge for a leisure pool?
Ten years ago, Park City School District and the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District worked together like family establishing the Aquatic Center at Ecker Hill International Middle School. And now they are trying to work together days before the Nov. 7 election to ensure that if the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation bond passes allowing for a new leisure pool, the two taxpayer-supported districts don’t end up with competing pools that drain both of their budgets.
The $12 million recreation bond to be voted on by residents in the 84098 zip code, if approved, will not only expand and maintain the Basin’s trail system, but will also provide $7 million to build a leisure pool and additional recreational facilities, now planned for the Snyderville Recreation Field House.
However, the idea of a new pool two miles from the existing Aquatic Center pool, which has been struggling for customers to help pay the operating costs, has some in the Park City School District wondering how much additional school budget money might have to be poured into the Aquatic Center pool to cover for yet fewer swimmers.
The Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District said their leisure pool will fill a different niche than the Aquatic Center’s lap and diving pool, so competition for swimmers should not be a major factor.
"Pool designs are going away from the traditional lap pools and diving boards," Todd Klarich, the director of the Aquatic Center said.
"The leisure-pool concept has just come of late, in the past four or five years," Klarich said. "Does Park City need a leisure pool? Yes," he said. But his concern is where the new pool would be located.
An open house was held at the Field House Tuesday, Oct 24, to inform both the public and the school board about estimated costs and possible designs of the proposed Field House pool.
Bonnie Park, the project manager for The Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District, said the district conducted a cost analysis study and found that a leisure pool would be cheaper to build by expanding the Field House than building it at the Aquatic Center.
She said a leisure pool at the Field House would be convenient for parents who want to work out while their children swim.
But Klarich said Utah law requires an adult to accompany a young child into the water, seemingly nixing the workout plan for those with younger children.
The bond would also cover additional field house improvements, such as a jogging track or climbing wall. Should the bond not pass, or should the pool be built at the Aquatic Center, the non-pool improvements at the Field House would not kick in, Park said.
But it is not just a matter of building costs. The Aquatic Center pool at Ecker currently requires a $265,000 subsidy per year to cover operating costs, according to the Park City School District. Taxpayers foot the bill. Should swimmers be split between two facilities, further subsidies would likely be needed.
Would a leisure pool cut into the aquatic Center’s revenue?
" No doubt it will impact us," Klarich said.
The costs for pool heating, staffing costs and supplies are only partially paid for by the $4 admission charge. The rest is subsidized by the community education budget. This budget covers after-school programs, including sports, Adult education and other community programs, said Kathryn Adair, Park City School District board member. Adair plans to give up her seat on the board come the election on Nov. 7.
"As I leave the school board my greatest concern is the school budget and long-term stability," Adair said. "I foresee tax increases to sustain the budget. I’m concerned how our constituents will be impacted."
Come Nov. 7, voters will decide whether to float the pool bond. But what will they get, and where?
Klarich thinks a leisure pool at the Aquatic Center makes the most sense. He said his boilers at the Aquatic Center are running at 30 percent capacity, and could efficiently be used to power a new leisure pool.
Tom VanGorder, acting superintendent, of the Park City School District, said he and David Chaplin, president of the board will meet with the Recreation District in the next few days.
"We will have an open dialog and communication," VanGorder said. "We have to look at what we will end up with to make the best decision for the community."
Park, while believing the Field House is the logical location for a leisure pool, should the bond pass, has not ruled out the aquatic center for the pool’s location, and looks forward to meeting with VanGorder and Chaplin to discuss the issues.
" Building the pool at the Ecker Hill Aquatic Center is not totally out of the question," she said. "We need to talk about it. We should have a good understanding by next week. We think there are good reasons to build it at the Field House. But we have to talk it over before the election so we can inform our constituents. It’s hard to go into an election with uncertainty."
For more information visit http://www.basinrecreation.com/
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