Preliminary plans to build a community pool were brought
forth at the Sept. 3 Avon Council work session.
Mayor Jim Smith showed the area where the pool would be located behind the Avon fire and police stations on Detroit Road as well as a tentative plan for the facility that would include four separate areas in one complex: a lazy river, a main pool with 35-meter swim lanes, an enclosed wading pool and a recreation pool with “zero entry” and slides.
The size would be similar to Avon Lake’s pool, which holds 450,000 gallons of water. If the project gets the go-ahead, it could feasibly be ready by next summer.
“Nobody has a competitive pool in the city,” Smith said before a crowd in council chambers.
The facility would be separated into four detached parts. Smith said that would prevent for a total shutdown of the pool in the event of defecation or contamination in one of the four areas.
He jokingly referred to the “Oh Henry” scene in the movie Caddyshack when a candy bar (actually a Baby Ruth) was mistaken for feces and resulted in patrons fleeing the pool.
“It’s the Oh Henry theory,” Smith said. “You have to close everything down for three days.”
Having separate facilities would increase usage, Smith said, since the wading pool could remain open if a swim meet were being held in the separate area.
The area would include two entrance/exit points to the area to prevent congestion.
Mike Stump, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission said a community survey in 2008 recovered 486 surveys and a community pool was the top noted facility those who responded wanted.
Financing essentially paid for by non-residents
Initial estimates are that the pool would cost between $4 million and $4.5 million.
Smith noted that of the revenue generated from a 2007 recreation income tax was largely being paid by those outside Avon, a fact by Finance Director Bill Logan.
“Eighty-five percent comes from people who work in Avon, but don’t live here,” Logan said of the recreation income tax.
In its first year after appearing on the ballot, that tax raised $940,000 first year. This year’s projection is $1.75 million is projected this year for recreation income tax, far exceeding expectation, in part due to the opening of the Cleveland Clinic.
“We’re up 94 percent,” Smith said. “The income is substantial.”
That tax, approved by 58 percent of voters, was used in part to fund All Pro Stadium and the YMCA and could be used, according to council, for a community pool.
With the right financing and bonds, the pool could be paid off in 5 to 8 years.
Pool received some opposition, residents asks for vote
Not everyone at the meeting supported the pool.
“I know there’s some people here for, and some against,” Smith said.
Bob Barnhart was one of those people.
“Your survey done in 2008 makes up less than 4 percent of the population,” Branhart said. “Either put it on the ballot or run an updated survey.”
Recreation Director Diane Corrao noted that the 486 surveys represented households, not individuals.
Barnhart said Avon membership at the YMCA is a little over 6,000 and wondered how many of those supported a pool in 2008, before the YMCA was open.
He also recommended a survey for above ground or in ground pool in Avon. He believed less than 10 percent of the population would support or need a public pool.
Councilman Bryan Jensen said when he ran for re-election the community pool was the number one issue the constituents supported. He said he would support it if it did not require a tax increase.
“There is no indication we would ever have to dip into funds to built it,” Jensen said.
He does not support a new City Hall.
“The money is there to do it,” Jensen said. “There is no reason not to do it. I say go ahead and do it.”
Plenty of support for pool
Many of those in attendance expressed solid support for the pool.
Roger Balser who is active in Avon swimming, saw the pool as a moneymaker.
He, along with several other residents, recommended that the main pool include 50-meter laps instead of 25 meters and said the city could make money from hosting meets.
“I’m not looking at how much it’s going to cost, but how much it’s going to make,” Balser said. “We have one shot to do this right.”
Smith noted changes could still be made.
Council candidate Brian Parsons said he’s heard of widespread support for a pool.
“Eighty to 90 percent of the people when I’m out walking the neighborhoods lists this as the top one or two things they want to see,” Parsons said. “Mothers are 100 percent for this.”
He expressed concern over the size being big enough to keep up with the city’s growth as well as access.
“Could the size of the facility be expanded if needed in the future?”’ Parsons asked.
Smith said plans were still preliminary. The next step would be for Avon Council to authorize boring on the property.