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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

News & Updates

Parks Board Meeting Minutes – February 11, 2020

Date and time:  5:00 PM, February 11, 2020
Present:  Board President Andy Smart, Barbara Foster, Brian Duncan, Mike Nicolas.

President Smart called the meeting to order and recapped the minutes of the previous meeting.

He then went on to describe the problems with the Ravine Park public three- pool facility including deteriorated liners on all three pools, rusting metal pipes and failing concrete exposing rusting rebar in the mechanical room, a badly deteriorated chemical room, lack of ventilation, deterioration in the bottom drain, and water leakage so excessive that it had required almost constant attention to maintain the proper chemical balance of the pool water and probably contributed to the failure of the pump and motor last summer.  It is also not ADA ( Americans with Disabilities Act ) compliant.

In addition, the facility has become so expensive to operate that it devours so much of the Park budget that there are very few funds left to do anything with the rest of the parks beyond mowing, a basic children’s summer parks program, and emergency repairs.  It was also pointed out that the pool is now only open for two months in the summer, because once school starts visitor use falls off drastically.

Public Works Supervisor Eric Swank pointed out that it was not possible to know the full extent of concrete deterioration behind the pool liner without removing large sections of it, and at that point we could not avoid installing a new liner.  He re-stated that no estimate for new pool liners had been less than one hundred thousand dollars.

President Smart also reported that HWC Engineering, whom the City has on retainer, had done an initial evaluation and first list of impressions and options for the facility.  Mr. Cory Whitesell,  Project manager for HWC, believes the basic structure of the facility is good and there is good potential for renovation.  The bathhouse is in good basic condition with a new roof and electrical system, pump and motor, and a filter system that should still be adequate for one pool with new filter media.

President Smart said the three options presented at the last meeting by Mr. Whitesell were:

  1. Minimal.  Relining the main pool, plugging the leaks that could be found, repairing the main drain, mechanical room improvements.
  2. A much more extensive renovation mechanically, making the pool beach entry and reducing the deep end of the main pool to five feet in depth, as well as eliminating the two smaller pools in favor of splash pad features.
  3. The same as 2, but with more amenities such as parking improvements and the addition of a slide to the top of the hill behind the pool.

Board members assured members of the public present that beyond option one, any redesign of the present facility is wide open and all suggestions for improvements and features are welcome.

After much discussion and consideration, including at the three previous public Parks Board meetings, Board members concluded that the current state of physical deterioration of the pools and the great financial cost make option one unacceptable.  The Board then voted unanimously to recommend not opening the pool this summer, and to publicly announce it in the following press release composed by Brian Duncan:

” It is with heavy hearts that the Attica Park Board must announce that the Attica City Pool will not be able to open for the 2020 season.  Facilities are in dire need of renovation and modernization.  Engineers are being consulted regarding paths forward, but at this time, both cost and timeline will make it impossible to move forward with the 2020 season.

It is no secret that the Attica City Pool experienced a number of mechanical challenges last summer that resulted in a number of days of closure.  What may have been less evident are the structural challenges that are an ongoing struggle.  The pools liner is years past it’s expected life-span, there are leaks in multiple places that cause the pool to steadily lose water all year, the gutter systems are aging, the chlorinator is on it’s last legs and the bathhouse and chemical room need upgrades.  All this follows on the heels of major electrical and roofing issues that have been addressed in recent years.  These circumstances leave the city with insufficient resources to combat all the issues at this time.

Planning has begun for the fundraising efforts that will be necessary to secure the future of the pool and parks.  Plans are also in the works to investigate what else the city and park board can do to help fill the void and provide alternatives for youth recreational activities this summer and beyond.

The Park Board would like to invite the public to attend it’s next meeting on March 10th at 6:00 PM to hear from city officials and the engineering team regarding future plans for the pool and the overall Parks system.

Talking Points:

– Not enough resources to combat all the pools issues at once.  Even a band aid solution would be more than we can afford without depleting all resources for other parks.

– This will allow us to continue on with plans to improve other aspects of our parks system while we raise funds for a future aquatics facility.

– Modernization will take significant fundraising, but could lead to an amazing new facility that will be the best in the area.

– We are committed to this project and will support fundraising efforts to the best of our ability.

– The City and Park Board recognize the far reaching impact of this decision and we will be working hard to fill the void this will leave in our community.”

There was discussion about arranging to have the summer parkee kids visit another local pool as they had gone to the Attica pool two days a week before.

There was discussion about possibilities for raising funds including a go-fund-me site and how there are grants for playgrounds with water features, but little to none for existing swimming pools.  Attending City Council member Carnahan mentioned that the city of Fowler had received some funding from the Northwest Community Health Foundation, one factor being that they had the only public pool in the county.

It was mentioned that a splash pad usually costs only about one fourth or fifth as much to operate as a similar sized pool.  Also that HWC’s landscape architect was excited when he saw that the natural slopes of the hill around the pool would allow an ADA compliant water slide about 25 feet up to the top of the hill with an access walk that would require very little excavating and filling.  He said he thought Lebanon would be the only other town in the state with such an ADA compliant slide.  It was added that such features would also attract adults and teens, not just children.

In other business, Public Works Supervisor Eric Swank  said he believes we will be able to replace two of the pedestrian bridges in Ravine Park’s Arm’s Woods this year.

President Smart reported that he, Mike Nicolas, and Eric Swank had examined the dangerous erosion problem at the small lion spring viewing overlook in Ravine Park, and that a plan to remedy it is being put into action.

Barb Foster contributed more information about obtaining an adult- and- child swing and the support frame for it.  This brought up the subject of playgrounds and equipment and the need for an overall, integrated plan for locating all the park features and activities.  Mike Nicolas added that he only wants to install equipment and features that have been shown to be heavily used.  He also wants lots of input from parents, and people like counselors and teachers who have spent a lot of time observing what really works on a playground.  He also handed out research he had gathered on what does and doesn’t work on playgrounds.

Brian Duncan said we need to explore adding more program activities in the parks.  He also mentioned that the school administration is very willing to be co-operative with community connections.

Brian Duncan also announced that the time and date for job interviews for prospective Parkee program councilors will be at 10:00 AM, Saturday, April 4th.  He and Karley Gayler will do the announcement.

Meeting adjourned at 6:30 PM.