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Back You are here: Home News Local and State News Local Community Pool Workshop Set For Thursday September 5th, 7:30PM

Community Pool Workshop Set For Thursday September 5th, 7:30PM

Rendering of a proposed 204,000 gallon, 25 yard, 8-lane, NCAA compliant swimming pool to be located adjacent to the Town's recreation center. The Town's Pool Committee will hold public workshops on September 5th and 13th to solicit feedback on the proposal.

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - A proposal for a new Carolina Beach Aquatics Center is still in the planning process and the Town will hold a couple of public workshops in September to solicit feedback from the public.
A workshop was previously held August 19th. The next will be Thursday, September 5th at 7:30 pm at the Carolina Beach Recreation Center behind Town Hall and Friday, September 13th at 11:00 am at the Katie B Hines Senior Center on Cape Fear Blvd.
In April the Carolina Beach Community Pool Steering Committee gave a presentation to the Town Council on a proposal to build a swimming pool adjacent to the Town's Recreation Center behind Town Hall on land already owned by the Town. The Council approved the next step in the process to complete the final construction drawings and obtain all final bids and structure a loan and terms with the Local Government Commission.
Highlights include a 204,000 gallon, 25 yard, 8-lane, NCAA compliant swimming pool complemented by a zero entry shallow end, ADA accessible ramp, and 9’ diving well. The facility would be open in the Summer and covered by a “bubble” enclosure in the winter for year-round use. Access to the facility will be through the existing rec center entryway and a covered walkway that leads to the pool.  Leveraging the existing check-in desk would reduce the annual admin cost of running the facility. It would also include locker rooms, storage building with an open design, separate admin counter that can be utilized for concessions, and a family changing room.
The committee sent out surveys in utility bills earlier this year and held community meetings including one at the Katie B. Hines Senior Center.
Committee member Duke Hagestrom said, "The majority of the community has expressed interest in a swimming pool – 55% percent are in favor which is much larger than the typical 30% in most average communities according to the USA Swimming “Build a Pool” workshop.  A large number of those who said “No” had a caveat that they would be in support of the facility if it wouldn’t be a burden to tax payers.  Another group that said “No” indicated their displeasure with some of the Town’s infrastructure and water quality."
Hagestrom explained, "As highlighted in the Town’s Park and Rec Master Plan, the NRPA and NCDENR suggest a pool for every 20,000 residents.  There are over 70,000 residents between Pleasure Island and the closest YWCA pool."
Hagestrom said parking can be accommodated on site and for large events parking could be facilitated at the neighboring church or other nearby locations.
He said, "Cost of construction is estimated to range from approximately $900,000 to $1.15 million. Cost of operations is estimated to range from $289,000 to $314,000 per year. Income is estimated to range from $232,000 to $366,000 per year."
He said the Rec Center currently has over 1,500 members and revenue projections were based on checking with other pools in the area and using conservative estimates of between 30 and 50% of the revenue they can achieve. He said, "The bottom line is our most likely scenario would see the Town breaking even with a swing of about $50,000 one way or the other."
Fees would be higher for non-residents. Infrequent users could purchase passes while frequent users could purchase membership packages of $200 for resident individuals and $340 for resident families for year round use. Also, a 15% discount for seniors, 20% discount for members of the pool and rec center and visitor passes for guests of $10 per person or $30 per family. Revenues would also be generated by various programs such as scuba diving classes and swim team events.
During that April meeting Councilman Shuttleworth  said, "The reality is the Town could write a check. That option hasn't been fully vetted. The Town is required by law, by state statute, to have an 8% reserve. The Town charter was amended to make it 40%.
The Town currently has a 52% reserve. The Town could, and Council hasn't had a willingness, but the Town could and has the wherewithal to do that. The Town currently holds a 6% debt ratio compared to its lending capacity. Although the numbers may look large, in fact with the tax rate last year being under revenue neutral, the Town is in a position to do that." He said, "For me it is a quality of life issue."
Shuttleworth said to get the final drawings he guessed it would cost $15,000 to $20,000.
Shuttleworth said in order to know what the loan amount is, the final construction documents and bids have to come first. After that the Council would have to vote to approve moving forward with financing.
Town Manager Bruce Shell said the bottom line question from the Local Government Commission is if the revenues are not there, and there's a loss, how are you going to pay for that. The answers is, the Town would be prepared to absorb that shortfall. You can't abandon the asset once you have the debt.
To view more info on the proposal, visit http://www.carolinabeach.org/site_new/pages/CommunityPoolProject.html Or call 910-458-2999.