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Carolina Beach Council Hears Input On Proposed Community Pool

The Carolina Beach Town Council voted to move forward on a proposed Aquatic Center for an 8-lane 25-yard community pool at their September meeting. On October 9th, an adjacent resident voiced opposition to the proposal and asked why no one from the Town had contacted area neighbors.

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council heard input on a proposal to build an Aquatic Center adjacent to Town Hall at their October 9th meeting.
Paul Feldman is owner of property on Olde Mariner's Way in a quiet neighborhood adjacent to the Town's Recreation Center and Town Hall.
He expressed concern over the expedient manner the Council took to move forward on the proposal to build an eight-lane, 25-yard community pool so close to his neighborhood without first contacting property owners for input.
Feldman said, "We have 33 houses. I'm on the Board of Directors of the Homeowners Association. Not one person from this Town came to talk to us and we're a hundred yards away."
He said the same thing happened years ago when the Town tried to build a skate park behind their homes and later a proposal for basketball courts.
Feldman said he pays his property tax bills and most people in the neighborhood are life-long residents. He said, "Yet we have no respect from this board."
He said the skate park - eventually built at a different location - was not the economic boom people claimed it would be and originally they wanted to place it ten feet from his backyard.
Feldman said, "All of the money you start adding up that's continually spent here, and everybody keeps saying we want this and it’s a great idea, we have the backing. Tell me who they are... I don't know anyone who is crying out for basketball courts or a skate park. We shouldn't be in the business of something like that. Not when there are places in Wilmington and it doesn't serve us. It didn't bring in any economic value to us. Nobody vacations down here because we've got a skate park and those outdoor basketball courts."
He said, "So now we're going to build a pool. Well, Wilmington has two pools. The YMCA which is about 13 miles away has a pool and a dome. No other beach Town is in the pool business. Wrightsville Beach, Emerald Isle, Kure Beach. I don't know where this is all coming from."
Feldman said most neighborhoods have their own community pools, as do many condo complexes.
He said the numbers presented supporting the pool being paid for by user and event fee-revenues are not realistic and many other local governments around the country are closing their pools or seeking companies to manage them.
Feldman said Mooresville near Cary, NC is losing money on their community pool and was seeking to hire a company to take it over.
Feldman said the Town couldn’t compete with the other pools in Wilmington.
Based on information presented to the Council at their September meeting, the initial capital expenses would likely total $737,500 for an eight-lane, 25-yard pool with shallow area and deep well. Of that total, pool construction would total $257,500 and other items including an auto sanitization system, locker room and admin facility and “year-around cover bubble”, lighting, landscaping and other related costs would total the $737,500.
The project would be financed at a municipal interest rate of 3% over 20 years based on 12 monthly payments per year. The project would be paid for by user fees. An annual family pass would likely cost $75. The information sent to Council indicates anticipated 1,250 season pass holders would bring in $93,750 a year. Visitor passes would bring in $15,000 a year. Other uses such as water aerobics instruction, swimming lessons, county school swim team lease, scuba diving classes and other uses would generate a total of $235,750 a year. The average annual cost to the Town is indicated at $9,157 a year.
Feldman said it's easy to finance a loan but it's hard to pay for it and if the user fees don't pay the bills, the taxpayers will be forced to pay.
Feldman said just like his argument eight years ago regarding the skate park, the Town's noise ordinance will become an issue because swimming pools are a loud operation that will impact the quiet enjoyment of his property.
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth said the Council would appoint a committee regarding the design of the Aquatic Center and would certainly reach out to the neighbors for input.
Shuttleworth previously noted the Town's Parks and Recreation Master Plan adopted in 2008 calls for a community pool and that a pool has been a desire of the community for many years.