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City seeks suggestions from the public regarding outdoor aquatics facility

October 6, 2017 – The City of Excelsior Springs wants to begin talking about Phase II of the community center: an outdoor swimming pool. Now in discussion only, the city will seek public input about what outdoor aquatic features are most desirable.

The Excelsior Springs City Council met Monday, Sept. 2 and agreed it was time to begin talks about adding an outdoor aquatic area to the community center, which is celebrating its one year anniversary this month.

According to Excelsior Springs Community Center Director Jesse Hall, since the center opened last October, there are over 4,900 members enjoying the benefits of the fitness and family-fun center.

“We think at this time it is appropriate to look into the future of the community center,” Hall said to board members.

In the Phase II proposal, council members were reminded of the center’s initial plans.

“During the development stages, the planning committee felt the inclusion of an outdoor pool as part of the new facility was important. It was determined that because we could not afford to construct the full plan desired, it was easier to remove the outdoor pool from the plan than to remodel the building at a later date,” the proposal read.

Taking into consideration how long planning stages can take, the council determined that beginning Phase II conversations with the community was the best way to approach the addition of an outdoor aquatic feature.

Hall told board members the community center had designed a survey to be sent out to the community in order to receive input about their wishes for the pool area.

The survey created by the center reads, “We are currently evaluating expansions of the community center to include seasonal outdoor aquatic features. Your input is critical to providing the highest value to our community.”

Those who take the survey are provided with a list and asked to identify their top five features, in order of highest priority, that citizens would like to see included in an expanded aquatic center experience. Suggestions include a competition swimming pool, lazy river, spray features, zero-depth entry, toddler slides, large flume slides, party rental pavilions, and a climbing/bouldering wall and steam sauna. The option to add another suggestion is also available and encouraged.

The survey was launched Wednesday, Oct. 4 and is the first step in gathering public input.

Hall said the center would also host a public input meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 17 from 4-9 p.m. and again during the week of Nov. 13. The input meeting will include a slideshow of possible features and amenities, present survey findings and what the next steps of Phase II conversations will be.

In the board’s packet provided Monday evening, Rainbow Pool was mentioned. The pool, which has sat untouched for years, was evaluated by Larkin Aquatics in March and it was determined the facility is not ADA compliant.

From the evaluation, board members learned that Rainbow Pool would need to undergo a complete renovation in order for it to be functional and serve as a city pool. The cost of repairs to use Rainbow Pool would likely approach $500,000–$1 million.

In learning the cost associated with repairing and/or replacing Rainbow Pool, city leaders determined the next step would instead be to move forward with Phase II planning to build an aquatic feature at the community center.

With the public’s input the city hopes to refine the concept of what the community wants in the aquatic feature, including a site plan, pool plan and 3D renderings by January 2018.

To access the survey and share your input on what aquatic features should be included at the community center, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TNZL5H5 or email Community Center Facility Supervisor Brittanie Propes at brittaniepropes@escommunitycenter.com.

By Jae Juarez • jae@leaderpress.com

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