Archive for Thursday, April 27, 2006

Council revisits center

April 27, 2006

The members of the Eudora City Council have wet their feet for the second to last time before a potential August referendum on a new pool and recreational center complex.

During a presentation by City Administrator Cheryl Beatty, the council learned the final recommended form of the $3.8 million project that would revamp the current swimming pool next to Laws Field and build a new gym for the city.

"The project committee, after much debate, has decided to go back to you for final approval so they can set up the process of getting the bond issue drafted," Beatty said.

The final design for the pool aspect of the project will contain a zero-depth entry point, 125-foot water slide with trough entry and leave open the possibility for a lazy river, Beatty said.

The attached recreation center featured a regulation-size basketball court that could be partitioned into two smaller courts, a lobby and exercise room and a large meeting area with a serving kitchen.

Beatty said the financing optiowould depend on the bond question.

"The half-cent sales tax would be the primary source of funding," Beatty said.

To supplement the sales tax, the city could levy anywhere between one to three mills of taxing authority depending on the duration of the bond, Beatty said.

"You don't have to decide that tonight," Beatty said.

Generally, now would be the right time to push the project through because the school district would be dropping two mills, Beatty said.

If the city were to pay for the bond issue by taxing three mills, the net hike to the citizens would only be one mill because of the anticipated school district decrease, Beatty said.

New commercial business and booming population could affect the balance as well, Beatty said.

"As we increase our population, more and more would be paid for by sales tax, and less and less by mill levy as time goes on," Beatty said.

Although financially this year might be better for the pool referendum, the need for it should drive the council to press forward, Beatty said.

"We do know we need a pool desperately because ours is in very, very poor condition," Beatty said.

It becomes even more important because of the tight gym space the city shares with the school district.

"We do know we need a community center," Beatty said.

Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle asked Beatty how the pool would compare to the new pool opening in De Soto.

"It looks bigger just eyeballing it," Pyle said.

Beatty said she would look into comparisons of the proposed pool and neighboring aquatic centers.

"This pool was not meant to be a true aquatic park," Beatty said. "The larger cost of this is not for the pool, it's for the community center and for the gym, which we desperately need."

The council's motion to move forward with the bond preparation passed unanimously.

"I think we need it," Pyle said.

Beatty said she would be back with a final proposal on the referendum to present to the council so that it can be on the ballot in August.

"Then it is the will of the people whether or not we go forward with the project," Beatty said.

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