The Price City council has given the green light for an architectural firm to look into possible designs for a new leisure pool in Price City.
The council passed a motion 4-1 authorizing $15,000 to be used for the improvement recommendations from the Washington Park Committee, selecting Valentiner Crane Brunjes Onyon (VCBO) as the architect for the pool development project by creating a preliminary conceptual design. The funding for the $15,000 will come from Zoos, Arts and Parks (ZAP) taxes. Councilman Richard Tatton cast the lone no vote on the motion.
Bret Cammans, Price City customer services director, said that a long-term possible plan could see the area at Washington Park being turned into a recreation center, with the Wave Pool and tennis courts being included within the plans.
One possibility of creating some funding for this project includes winterizing the Wave Pool and getting rid of the bubble that needs to be constructed each winter season.
Creating a recreation center in Price City has been looked at for many years but some of the questions that have been constantly asked is if the city can not only afford to create a center but also provide enough support for it long-term.
Councilwoman Kathy Hanna-Smith said that the area is in need of a recreation center but there should be a collective working effort with the city and the county joining together on making this happen.
"The biggest question will be how do we get the funds for this because it will take a lot of funding to create a recreation center,"Hanna-Smith said.
But what may be more important is the improvement in the quality of life for residents in the city and those who may be looking to move into the area.
"Families who move here and businesses that come here like to see recreation centers,"she said.
Amy Jespersen, a citizen on the Washington Park Improvement Committee, said the group first looked into a new pool project back in January. She noted that the bubble for the Wave Pool will need to be replaced soon which could cost the city over $200,000 and the heating costs during the winter seasons is also expensive.
To help quell concerns about the possible costs of the project long-term, Jespersen said the committee is looking to create a master plan that helps keep expenses in check for the city and the county. By creating a new leisure pool it would help take the burden off the Wave Pool and the lap and diving pool and would provide another pool where families and young children can enjoy using.
Looking into the future, Jespersen said the committee hopes to see a recreation center come to Price.
"The main goal going forward is to have a recreation center,"she said. "To have that would be a real gem for the community and provide another place for the youth to participate in an enjoy."
Councilwoman Jeanne McEvoy said she has heard from many residents who use the nearby tennis courts and their concerns about what may be done with the courts.Gary Sonntag, Price City Public Works director, said that the tennis courts will be a part of the design for a possible recreation center.
Using the ZAP tax to fund the preliminary conceptual design work and possibly using funds from it towards a recreation center is something that Mayor Joe Piccolo said needs to be looked at closely by the committee. He suggested that the committee put together a campaign to educate the public and let them know about what is being looked at using ZAP tax funds. If that happens too late within the process, it could just be seen as another tax on the citizens, Piccolo said.
Tatton, who cast the lone no vote on the motion, said he wanted to see some hard facts first, focusing particulary on the cost of a new leisure pool versus the revenue it would generate.
"I'm concerned about what we can afford as a small city and where the money will come from to support a project like this,"Tatton explained.
He said the Wave Pool is a great asset to the community but does come at a cost for the city. Tatton is supportive of bringing a recreation center to the area but thinks that the city should look to other communities and how they may be affected by having a recreation center.
Cammans said the city will updating the county on where the project is going and working them to get on board with it.