12/13/2013 9:53:00 AM City of CF will vote Mar. 3 on $4.25 million for new pool
by Ken Haggerty
The Cannon Falls city council approved a resolution to hold a special election on March 3, 2014 to ask for voter approval of up to $4.25 million in bonding authority to build a new pool.
If approved, the new modern pool (featuring amenities like water slides, a zero entry splash area, a new bath house and concessions area) would be built on the site of the existing community pool. A proposed timeline shows closing the pool for 2014, a June 2014 demolition of the existing pool and a June 2015 opening of the new pool.
The existing pool (25 meter by 25 meter with an attached diving well) was built in 1969. The city thinks it may soon have to make major repairs to it as the concrete is showing more and more cracking, the finish more flaking, and the pool wall is even bulging in some areas. The pool as it exists also does not meet government standards for accessibility for people with disabilities, and the city may be required at some point to make it more accessible.
The city also feels that the heating and pumping and filtration equipment is not running very efficiently and requires a high level of maintenance and reduces the operating efficiency of the pool.
Current operating deficit of the pool is estimated to be $50,000 to $60,000 a year. The city hopes that a more modern pool with some popular features can attract more pool customers, keep them at the pool longer and increase revenue both on admission, concessions and rentals for private parties and other uses. The proposed plans calls for the new design to actually generate about $15,000 in revenue annually. This figure is based on $4 admission, average of $1 in concessions spending, and average daily attendance of 317 for 90 days out of a 101 day season.
A community committee met with US Aquatics, a consulting firm that has worked on building other community pools, to come up with ideas on what to do about the pool.
The final plan they came up with called for building new on the same site. The consultants estimated Americans with Disabilities Act basic compliance would cost about $300,000. Fully addressing all other code issues, structural issues, and maintenance issues would be about another $1.5 million, they estimated.
The plan submitted by the consultants and committee to the council calls for a new pool that would incorporate a six lane, 25 yard lap swim area, a diving area with a basic water slide, and a landing area for large water slides. That is basically on the same footprint as the existing pool. Next to that pool would be a new zero depth splash area and toys for younger children and those who struggle with steps and ladders.
Also, an expanded area for shaded seating and cabana type areas are in the design. That would expand the footprint about halfway to the hockey rink. The design also calls for a new bathhouse/concession area in the existing bathhouse footprint, extended by about a fourth, also toward the hockey rink.
Construction costs only are estimated at $2.174 million. Demo and landscaping costs are put at $242,000. Costs for the various slides, fixtures, furniture and equipment start at $563,000 with options for another $408,000.
US Aquatics fee through construction documents would be eight percent, or $219,037 on the plan without the $408,000 in options.
US Aquatics fee through bidding and construction is another two percent (about $55,000).
Signature Aquatics Management fee for construction management is listed at 5.5 percent (another $150,588).
City administrator Aaron Reeves said he thinks the city can use its own consulting engineer and maybe another construction management it worked with on the library project to get these management costs down.
As presented, with all fees and all equipment options, the cost is estimated at $3,990,831. Reeves chose to request a bond of $4,250,000 in case costs come in higher so the city can cover contingencies.
LeRoy McCusker was the lone no vote on the resolution. McCusker said the city has other major capital needs he would prioritize and that he is afraid people will vote for the pool and then the council will have to figure out how to pay for it.
Mayor Robby Robinson said it's a 40-year-old facility and that it's time to do something new that is more attractive to users and more efficient to run. "Without a pool we end up giving out a lot more awards like the one the Police Chief gave to the man who rescued the kid from the river," said Robinson.
Council member Bill Duncan said he's skeptical of some of the estimated revenue numbers, but said a new pool could at least aim to run at break-even, instead of an annual $50,000 subsidy.
Reeves said in visiting with other cities that have built more modern pools, they are happy with how it has boosted attendance from residents and brought in out-of-towners. "It can be a selling asset for a community," said Reeves.