Archive for Thursday, December 22, 2005

Committee envisions recreation complex

December 22, 2005

Yvette Gadberry spent years protesting and avoiding Eudora's swimming pool.

Matt Montgomery hit the streets to campaign against the passage of a bond that would have built a new one.

Now, both are part of a new recreational complex committee charged with the task of developing a plan for a community center and swimming facility ---- and they aren't alone.

In total eight citizens -- of varying ages and from different parts of the community -- and five staff members met Dec. 14 to imagine the basic scope of what City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said is a badly needed addition to the city.

"We want it open and available for all ages. That's what we brainstormed. That's all we're going to tell you," Beatty said. "From there it's yours."

The only caveat was to keep the project under $3 million.

"That's our job to keep it plain and simple, yet have something we can be really proud of," Beatty said.

The contracted architects, project manager Tom Arpin and architect Jay Zimmerscheid of BG Consultants, focused the discussion by asking the community members what they envisioned for the complex.

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The overall theme of the group boiled down to simplicity and finding an option the community would support in the form of a potential half-cent sales tax increase next April.

"You can make the pool as expensive as you want to, but it has to be passed," committee member Leo Lauber said. "When you're talking public relations, we're going to be talking about the community center with the pool, and not the pool with community center."

The committee's shared sentiment of thriftiness and utility kept recurring, as did the importance of the proposal.

"This is a do-or-die project," Beatty said.

Arpin told the committee they could build a decent swimming pool for around $1 million.

The $1 million price tag could give the city a pool, with what committee members see as a required zero-point entry, and possibly some amenities.

"If you do the zero entry, you're serving all your needs," committee member Roberta Lehmann said.

The zero-point entry would serve as both an entry for handicapped patrons and work as a wading pool.

The committee also looked at the possibility of a waterslide, which some saw as a key attraction for any new pool.

"I think at this point we're really kind of doing our wish list thing. Let's plan it, and if we have to sit here and scale back, then we have to make some hard decisions. That will be one of the things we look at," Arpin said.

The city is planning to put the pool and recreation center at the same location as the current pool.

"The recreation center is probably going to be the most flexible things, I guess," Arpin said.

The vision for the recreation center includes a full basketball court, with two three-quarter courts, a large meeting room with an attached serving kitchen, locker rooms and an office for parks and the city's recreation director.

Eudora High School senior Mark Abel offered a youth perspective to the committee on the type of gym flooring.

"I hope we wouldn't go with anything besides wood," Abel said.

Arpin and Zimmerscheid will be taking the committee's ideas from the Dec. 14 meeting and an upcoming meeting in January to create a plan based on the site restrictions.

Eventually the plan will be presented to the city during a council meeting and later opened to a full public presentation.

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