Archive for Thursday, February 2, 2006

Citizen committee agrees to delay recreation center vote

February 2, 2006

Preliminary floor plans illustrate how the new recreation center
might look.

Preliminary floor plans illustrate how the new recreation center might look.

Although plans for a new swimming pool and recreation center in Eudora are moving ahead conceptually, an election to put the project to voters has been pushed back.

A citizen committee formed to discuss the project decided to delay a referendum on the $3.4 million facility from April to August. The delay helped the committee avoid a time crunch, which could have occurred had it sought to put the measure on the April 4 ballot, a date reserved for city elections (although there are none scheduled for Eudora this spring).

Preliminary floor plans illustrate how the new recreation center
might look.

Preliminary floor plans illustrate how the new recreation center might look.

If the Eudora City Council passed an ordinance to have a bond referendum, the city would have had an opportunity to have the referendum within 45 days and foot the bill on its own or add the measure to the August primary.

To save money and time, city administrator Cheryl Beatty and the committee chose to wait until the next 90-day window.

"That put it off to the point where we just needed to wait one more month until August to have a special election," Beatty said.

Committee members agreed to the four-month delay because the group didn't want the project to seem rushed.

"We wanted to be able to educate ourselves and the public well enough that we all feel good about the project," Beatty said.

She said it was also to avoid wastting tax dollars.

The decision came as the group formed a solid idea on how to use space for the center, which is proposed for the site of the current Eudora swimming pool.

"The committee was very consistent about trying to develop a plan that flowed well and tried to use the space to its optimum level without driving up cost," Beatty said.

According to the preliminary floor plan, the swimming pool would be north of a building that would eventually hold the Eudora Parks and Recreation offices. The same building would service both a gymnasium and pool, while providing an additional benefit as a windbreak for the pool.

The gymnasium with its regulation basketball court would be located at the east end of the building.

"I think the facility does a really good job of utilizing public monies because you're utilizing common spaces for both the pool and recreation center," said project architect Jay Zimmerschied of BG Consultants.

The preliminary design shows both a zero-depth entry point and a diving area for the pool.

The committee has also discussed the possibility of adding other amenities to the pool in the future.

In addition to the gymnasium, plans for the center include space for public meetings.

"I know the recreation center is something that will be new to Eudora, and that's something that will be pretty exciting," Zimmerschied said.

Although the discussion is still preliminary, Zimmerschied said the committee explored options of eventually expanding the dry side of the recreation center. Among the possibilities, committee members looked at the potential for adding another gymnasium.

Expansion beyond that, at least for outward growth, could be difficult, Zimmerschied said.

"The site is compact, so they have to be very careful about space allocation," Zimmerschied said.

With the basic floor plan drafted, the committee will continue to meet twice a month to develop the concept for the pool.

At the end of February or early March, the group will present the full scope of the project and cost to the Eudora City Council.

"We're excited about it," Zimmerschied said. "We think it'll be really nice. It's definitely something I think the city will use."

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