Archive for Thursday, January 17, 2002

Pool planning still afloat

January 17, 2002

The city continued to test the waters of a new swimming pool with a presentation by a pool builder at the Jan. 14 Eudora City Council meeting and at planning session for parks and recreation.

The city heard presentations on possible pool designs several months ago but agreed to have Ford Bohl present ideas since he helped design the existing pool several decades ago.

"Our goal is to design it for maximum life," Bohl said.

Bohl drew a comparison between what he could do with the Eudora pool and what he's done with neighborhood pools in Olathe. The schematic design he presented to the council included amenities championed by other designers like zero-entry, water slides and fountains.

"They felt the attendance was going to be too large once we put those facilities in it, and they're right," Bohl said.

That's why he suggested placing the water slides away from the pool and providing them with their own small "landing strip" pool like in Olathe. The high activity areas like diving and slides (if they were placed by the main pool) would be mostly contained to one area. Swimming lanes would separate it from the zero-entry area where younger children and adults wanting to take it easy can relax.

"We're just developing a pool for family use," he said.

According to Bucher, Willis and Ratliff consultant Dick Horton, a family-use pool is a good idea because pools experience increased attendance and profits after adding fancy equipment and upgrades. With pools like Eudora has now, Horton said, you see families pulling up to the fence and dropping kids off. That is not true of modern pools with amenities that entice people of various ages.

"They're going to stay longer and spend more money," he said. "Modern ones can recover operating expenses."

Bohl told the council he thought the city could make more money by expanding the concession area. He also suggested structural improvements to the pool, support buildings, and changes to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act. If the city chose Bohl and Associates, Bohl estimated the city could have a pool open in 2003.

Although pools may have a longer life, Horton said it's not unusual anymore to see cities re-doing their pools after 20 years simply for the sake of having a more modern look.

Suggestions from the parks and recreation planning meeting included maintaining Eudora's outdoor pool as is and constructing an indoor pool for use year-round. Arguments for an indoor pool included that it could not only give kids a place to play year-round, but it could also provide exercise and therapy space for adults, especially senior citizens.

In regard to an indoor-versus-outdoor pool, or any other parks and recreation changes, Horton said scientific surveys provided the best gauge of the community's attitudes.

"The challenge of planning is we don't ever want to guess about how people feel about certain improvements," he said.

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