THIS ONE: Display boards were set up on Sunday to show pictures of possible amenities at a proposed new aquatic center in Waverly. Riley Bowker of Waverly puts a sticker next to one of the features he would like to see at the pool. The display boards will also be at the pool this summer to gather more community input. (Staff Photo by Lisa Brichacek)

WAVERLY – The early planning stages for a new pool in Waverly gathered some community input Sunday evening.

About 40 area residents of all ages were at the community center for a town hall for a proposed new aquatic center.

While the plans for the new aquatic center are still taking shape, those attending got to weigh in on site selection and also on possible features for the new facility.

The presentation of information was led by Kyle McCawley, the project manager from Lamp Rynearson. Thanks to some matching grant dollars, the city hired Lamp Rynearson earlier this year to help a pool committee develop a plan.

McCawley said the existing pool built in 1975 had held up well.

The typical lifespan of a pool is 40 years, plus or minus a few years, he said.

Despite the good maintenance over the years, he said there are definitely areas – such as in the pipes and pumping system – that are showing age and need for replacement.

The need for a new pool is also being driven by capacity. The existing 42,000 square foot pool can only hold 200 people at a time, and the demand has been greater than that.

The plan right now is to build a pool that could up 300 to 400 people.

Based upon the work done by the committee so far, five sites are being considered for a new pool. One option would be to rebuild on the existing site at Wayne Park. Another option would be to relocate to another area in Wayne Park. A third option would be to build at the city’s Lawson Park.

The two other options involved purchasing land along Highway 6 or near 148th Street and Bluff Road.

McCawley said all of the sites have been evaluated using several criteria. The availability of utilities already at the site is one criteria. Traffic flow for both vehicles and pedestrians is being considered.

Other factors weighing into the site discussion are other nearby amenities and potential development costs.

The existing site has utilities readily available. While vehicle traffic flow was graded on the “marginal” side, McCawley said pedestrian access was good.

While this site had some pluses for utilities and development costs, he said the drawbacks were that the tennis courts would have to be moved to make room for pool expansion and new construction there would probably mean that the pool would have to be closed for a season.

Moving the pool to a central location at Wayne Park has also been put on the table.

He said it could go to the south of the ballfield. The ballfield area would have to be shrunk slightly, but there is more elbow room in this area of Wayne Park. Utilities were also still readily available.

Utilities for a new pool could also be accessed at Lawson Park. However, McCawley said there have been some concerns expressed about the other activities already at this park on the north side of town.

“Considering how much use it gets, some of those activities would have to be moved elsewhere,” he said.

A new pool and parking area, for example, might push out the area now designated for soccer.

The area near 148th and Bluff Road would need to be developed and there could also be some utility issues, as nearby lines are already maxed out. There is also currently no existing parking.

The Froehlich property along Highway 6 would also have development and parking costs. McCawley said pedestrian traffic was not rated as high as the other sites.

After the presentation of five sites, the audience was given their chance to rate them. Using cell phone technology, the central location in Wayne Park got the most votes six-fold. The existing site only got four votes.

The community also got a chance to see the amenities that could go into a new aquatic center.

McCawley said the basics – such as shade structures, zero depth entry and a concession stand – would be included in any final designs. But, the committee wanted input as to what type of special features the community wanted.

These features included such items as deck sprays, slides, diving boards, interactive play areas, floatables, basketball, climbing wall and moving water/lazy river.

In all, 12 features were presented. After explaining each one, the audience again got a chance to vote on the ones that should be at the new pool.

The top ranked preferred amenity was low diving board. Rounding out the top five priorities were play structures, moving water, interactive play and family slide.

Picture boards showing all 12 amenities have been put together. McCawley said the boards will be on display this summer at the pool. Those who want to offer their input can put stickers by the pictures of the feature they would like to see at a new pool.

The type and number of features put into a new pool would be a factor in overall cost.

The consultant said new pools that have been built in towns similar to Waverly have ranged from $2.5 million to $5 million.

During the question and answer after the presentation, where that money would be coming from was discussed. Committee Chair Kris Bohac said grants and fundraising have been discussed. Since this project is in its early phases, nothing has been finalized yet.

The concepts for size, location, amenities and other components are still being reviewed and assessed.

“We haven’t nixed any-

thing,” she said.

Bohac added the purpose of Sunday’s meeting was get community input so the specifics can start to be narrowed.

“That’s what it’s about now. It’s the planning process,” she said.

Another town hall will be held, once plans develop a little further.

According to McCawley, a website is also being developed so the community can access the latest project plans.

Bohac said the committee was pleased overall with the turnout for the town hall Sunday and the comments.

Several of the comments offered Sunday related to the possibility of building an indoor pool.

It is something the committee has heard previously as well.

Bohac said it is not in the planning process right now, but that doesn’t rule it out for the future.

“It’s definitely something to keep talking about and tossing around ideas,” she added.

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