The Frankfort City Council heard a design and financial update on the pool situation at TPA Park Monday night. Mayor Chris McBarnes said this was strictly an informational meeting and no decisions would be made.
Kyle Lueken of HWC Engineering, who had presented two proposed options at a community forum meeting at the Community Schools of Frankfort Administration Building in January, presented a newer version of a proposed new pool at a cost of $9.9 million.
After a report from the finance committee that consisted of councilmen Eric Woods, Jim Moyer and Steve Beardsley, a consensus was reached that a new pool was the best option rather than try to fix or rebuild the current pool.
“Knowing that with the age of that pool and the trends nationwide for changing aquatic recreational facilities that we needed to make a change,” said Woods. “Now’s the time because of the current conditions. I am not in favor of putting millions into repairing the old and obsolete style pool we have.”
Frankfort Parks Superintendent Travis Sheets said the pool opened late this past year due to problems with leaks. They closed for the year on August 7 and the next day, a major leak was back. Sheets said the pool made $16,775 last year with a total expenditure of $132,026.89.
“It’s very clear through the (pool) survey and talking with constituents they want what Lebanon and maybe a smaller version of what Lafayette has,” said Woods. “I fully support that.”
The survey showed people had several thoughts on what could be incorporated into a new pool. The top five items included a Lazy River concept followed by water slides, a toddler zone, water play structures and a zero depth or beach entry point.
Another point that was definitely driven home was the fact that the current pool would not be open this coming summer and probably all of 2020, as well.
Woods said the price tag is concerning.
“I’m a little concerned about the affordability. I would be remiss if I didn’t say I had that concern,” he said. “But we as a finance committee have pushed the finance consultants to find us a path forward and we think we found it. That is going to require some concessions on our side as discussed tonight.”
Some of those “concessions” would come in the form of prioritizing certain projects such as Washington Avenue Phase III.
“We brought that up because we were prepared to use EDIT funds, the economic tax dollars,” said Woods. “For the next five years, we will have to weigh the priorities of the pool over projects like that because we have limited resources.”
Woods added that will change in the near future.
“As the abatements for the industrial properties drop off, we see the revenues come up in a few years and we’ll be fine,” he said. “But we as a finance committee wanted to make sure the council knew for at least the next few years we will have to prioritize such projects and do what we can when we can. We can’t hurt the services being provided for the citizens. We’ve got to maintain that level to be able to do this recreation project.
“We can afford it (this pool). It’s worth it and we have to have a pool,” added Woods.