City Council discusses Quarterpath Pool’s future

A panel presented TED-talk style speeches on of free speech in the media followed by a discussion. FILE PHOTO / THE FLAT HAT

The future of a failing pool and renovations at the College of William and Mary were all on the table at the Oct. 8 Williamsburg City Council meeting.

During a presentation of the proposed legislative properties for the 2013 General Assembly, the plans for renovation at the College were introduced.

The College asked for approval for the renovation of Tyler Hall and Campus Residence Facilities. The projects would cost $16.4 million and $9.7 million, respectively.

“The College asks that Williamsburg support William and Mary’s priority to secure a sustainable funding model that supports academic excellence, financial aid and faculty and staff compensation,” Assistant City Manager Jodi Miller said.

Mayor Clyde Haulman discussed the goals he wants to pursue during the term, such as creating better signs for Prince George and Boundary Streets, incorporating new businesses into the tourism alliance, and encouraging community members to volunteer at elementary schools.

Jason Saunders ’12 gave a presentation about the future of Quarterpath Pool. Saunders is a former city council intern and currently works as an intern at the Virginia Resource Authority.

“The pool at Quarterpath Park is facing several challenges that the city will need to address before the next season,” Saunders said.

In 2012 the pool had a 12 percent cost recovery, which was 4.5 percent less than 2011. Competition is very steep; there are at least 42 local pools. With Water Country USA offering swim lessons last summer, the competition is threatening the pool’s financial future. Memberships also decreased, only 13 families or individuals paid for membership for the entire summer.

“It’s rather to see that usage has gone down, but competition is rather significant,” City council member Douglas Pons said.

Saunders presented three options. The first is to perform needed maintenance. This could cost $184,350 next year and $73,760 annually.

The second option is to close the pool. The demolition would cost $100,000.

The third and final option is to create a community partnership with a local pool and provide swimming lessons. This option would cost $150 next year and $6,500 annually. The Williamsburg Community Pool is one possible partner. Saunders and his staff members recommended pursuing the third option.

The council members want to continue the discussion with community members.

“I’m interested to see, since this is the first time this has been publicly discussed, what the public sentiment is,” city council member Scott Foster ’10, J.D. ’14 said.

Council member Judy Knudson expressed her belief that the pool was important to public safety.

“I think we have to maintain at least the swim lessons for city residents, because that is really important,” Knudson said. “I’m glad that this is on the table now.”

There were brief presentations on the Purchasing Manual Review and city council communications.  The county’s purchasing procedures manual was updated due to a new state law. The updates will give the council more money to spend in a few areas before they have to make a formal proposal. These presentations were given by Purchasing Agent Julie Phares and mayor Haulman, respectively.


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