If there’s one thing Joni Behrends is passionate about, it’s giving the youth of Washington Court House a chance to remember their summers.
In March 2012, it was announced that the City would not be opening the City swimming pool located at 310 Eyman Park Drive in Washington Court House for the 2012 summer. The City cited budget concerns as the reasoning.
It was soon realized that saving the swimming pool with future repairs and construction could possibly cost more than the price to build a new one. That’s when the city started evaluating their options.
According to documents provided to Fayette Advocate, the city was bailing the pool out by tens of thousands of dollars a year:
- 2006: $68,006.00
- 2007: $62,960.00
- 2008: $59,305.00
- 2009: $27,500.00
- 2010: $36,000.00
- 2011: $39,200.00
“The city gets beaten over the head because we closed the pool. I think people forget that the city rescued the pool once and really didn’t want to. For folks who get accused for not caring about the swimming pool, they’ve chucked several amounts of money into it. A long time ago, the community came up with a solution that worked for a very long time at the pool. What we’re trying to do is come up with another long-term solution that works for the community.” said City Manager Joe Denen.
When Joni heard the news, she attended a city council meeting and voiced her concern that closing the pool would possibly deprive today’s children of their youth.
After voicing her concern, Joni and a group of citizens started attending meetings with city officials to discuss the future of the swimming pool.
Four months later, a group of citizens from the community continue to meet with city officials frequently to plan a proposal to the community, which will likely be voted upon during an upcoming election. In the meetings, the group discuses construction blueprints, cost, and the likelihood of each blueprint being accepted by the majority of the voting body.
“A group went around and surveyed other pools throughout the state. They really liked the zero entry aspect of it because that really opens up a pool for a full age range to participate” said Denen.
According to the documents, in order to construct an accurate cost to build a new pool facility, a number of design decisions would need to be made. However, a smaller basic facility would appear at this time to cost approximately $2.5 million. The high end cost for a facility with more amenities would be approximately $4 million.
The documents read that there were three viable options proposed:
- A.) Income Tax: .12% or $400,000
- B.)Property Tax: 1.8 Mills, 1 mill is equal to $227,000
- C.) Debt: $308,000 per year at 20 years.
As for the construction of a new facility, there are several options being brainstormed during meeting sessions, which will have a large impact on the cost of construction. The possibility to utilize current assets, such as the water slide at the current site, which is 14-years-old, could impact the price tremendously.
It’s still unclear when the public will see a full proposal before them, but the committee established is moving along as smoothly and accurately as possible. “There’s a clear desire that we want to move along with this issue as fast as we can, but we want everyone very comfortable with the solution” said Denen.
Those interested in joining the pool committee or voicing their concerns, should contact Joni Behrends at (740) 636-9688.
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