Council approves bond issue vote for new swimming pool

Staff Writer
Story City Herald
Council approves bond issue vote for new swimming pool

—by Todd Thorson

The Story City Council made it official last Monday night (Aug. 18) by approving a November bond issue vote for a new swimming pool. The council voted unanimously in favor of the bond issue, which followed a special meeting back on August 4 when council members met with the swimming pool committee to go over two proposals, including plans and specifications presented by Kansas City design firm Waters Edge.

The cost of a new pool is estimated to be $2.65 million, and would be built on the current site. The existing swimming pool, which opened on August 3, 1974, is showing its age, and has continued to deteriorate each and every season for many years. Equipment repairs and maintenance has taken its toll financially on the facility, and it appears now is the time to stop draining more tax dollars into an obsolete structure. In the past 10 years repairs and maintenance upkeep have been an annual occurrence, including leaks and crumbling concrete.

Earlier this year a pool committee was formed to come up with various ideas for a new swimming pool and to conduct a feasibility study, along with help from Waters Edge, in the hopes of reaching a practical and efficient solution. Members of the pool committee include: Council members Becky Watson and Valaree Muhlenburg, Aquatics/Recreation Supervisor Jenny Nelson, Parks and Rec Superintendent John Moran, City Administrator Mark Jackson and community members Mary Howell Sirna, Casey Kahl, Patty Rathmacher, Rodney Bunn, Trent Whipple and Jody Larson.

If approved by a 60 percent vote in November, a tax levy rate would increase property taxes by approximately $1.20 per $1,000 valuation. For the residential homeowner the property tax increase would be approximately: $65 for a $100,000 home, $98 for $150,000, $130 for $200,000, $163 for $250,000 and $196 for a $300,000 home. The bond referendum would be paid over 20 years.

Let it be known, operationally, swimming pools in smaller communities like Story City, do not make money. The current, 40 year old pool loses, on the average, approximately $65,000 per year. However, a new swimming pool facility would lose roughly half that amount.

The new pool would be approximately the same size as the existing facility, and would be built, as stated, at the same location. This would obviously cause at least one season of swimming to be lost due to demolition and construction. If the bond issue passes, bids could be let and construction started in the spring and summer of 2015, which would ear-mark completion in time for the 2016 swimming season.

Amenities included in the new swimming pool would be two water slides, two diving boards, a spray zone for toddlers, a 5-lane lap swimming area in the deep end, new lounge areas, including several areas to escape the sun, as well as along the concrete and grass areas, and even in the water; a new bath house and concession stand, and revamped entry areas into the pool, either using a “zero depth entry” or a “shallow 6-inch entry”.

Between now and the November election, a series of public and informational meetings will be held to provide the community with more details on the new swimming pool proposal and to answer any questions residents may have. For more information contact Recreation Supervisor Jenny Nelson (733-2458) or City Administrator Mark Jackson (733-2121).