The following was sent to the Mayor and City Council to address some concerns holding up the funding of Agenda Item 23-175, which would effectively terminate Holmes Aquatic Center Phase 2 for the third time in nine years, as may be read on the on page 4 of the minutes of the city council meeting on November 9, 2023,
Mayor Stewart, Mayor ProTem Farley and council members Aldredge, Philbin and Myers,
I am writing on behalf of the donor and the citizens for the Holmes Aquatic Center Phase 2 to urge the council to schedule and vote on January 23, 2024 for the approval to fund the Schematic Design.
This is the donor’s third and final attempt in nine years to fund Holmes Aquatic Center Phase 2 (HAC2) to replace the 85-year-old Pool Pump Room; create the citizen-requested Community Center; and for the city to receive his unprecedented $1 million incentive.
The hopes of citizens for the ultimate possible approval of HAC2 will end if the Schematic Design is not funded. Without Schematic Design, the city can’t issue a Request for Proposal and confirm the estimates in direct line-by-line comparison to the one firm’s $9.4 million or $2,090/SF as referenced on page 4 in the November 7th City Council Minutes
“City Manager Corder added that former Park Advisory Committee member Alan Stewart, of his own initiative, performed research on the potential costs for this project. He said that Mr. Stewart received estimates from seven companies ranging from $3.5 – $6.5 million for construction of the project.”
Compared to $9.4 million, the city could potentially build HAC2 for a range of $2.5 – $5.5 million with the donor’s $1 million offer, so we urge the council to vote for the Schematic Design as a prudent economic decision for a much-needed facility.
In respect to Centennial history, in 1930 during the Great Depression, the most uncertain of financial times with other pressing infrastructure projects pending, Mayor Curtis authorized funds taken from infrastructure bonds to create the pool and the first official city park, which have been cherished for over 80 years.
We are asking the 2024 City Council for that same type of vision during our Centennial Year to invest in the Schematic Design to potentially fund the Holmes Aquatic Center Phase 2 to create a city amenity that would be treasured for the next hundred years.
Please read the summary of reasons on the following page.
Here are some reminders:
- The $1 million offer was made to the city 11 months ago on February 16, 2023.
- The only requirement was to start construction in 2024 (after pool season) and January 23 is the last date to meet the construction schedule.
- The pool is the most-used UP park amenity with over 30,000 visits per summer season. The 85-year-old Pool Pump Room (responsible for all pool operations) has needed replacement for nine years and was designed and built in 1939 by the WPA during the Great Depression.
- The Community Center has been requested by citizen surveys since 2015.
- The “Indoor” facility is referred to in two of the “UPCOMING” but not acted upon Centennial Master Plan goals under Continue Enhancing the City’s Park System :
- Add Indoor Sports Recreation through community partnerships and it will be requested in the Park Master Plan Upcoming
- According to the PAC, it will be again requested in the upcoming Park Master Plan
- The donor and retired Chair of the Park Advisory Committee was responsible for the design and development of all UP parks for 36 years since 1986 and he believes this will be one of the most used year-round park amenities worthy of his Centennial gift.
- The HAC2 has been unanimously recommended by the council-appointed two Park Directors, two Park Advisory Committee Chairs and three Park Advisory Committees (2015, 2019 and 2023-24). They recognize that the transformation of unprogrammed park land to create the Community Center is like the ‘green space’ allocated to create the pool, tennis/pickleball courts and sports facilities, which are used by substantially more citizens.
- Unlike the two previous attempts in 2015 and 2019, there is widespread citizen interest and awareness of this opportunity from three newspaper articles, the HAC2 website and citizen word of mouth.
- If the donor’s offer is accepted, it would be the single largest Centennial gift and worthy of a ‘ceremonial ground-breaking’ during the Centennial week.
- If HAC2 is denied for the third time with the donor’s $1 million offer, the unanimous support of city appointed park representatives and public support, who, when and what would it take to fix the pool and add the community center in the future?