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The Mount Ayr City Council reviewed concepts for the proposed Gold Center pool, and the outdoor pool designed by JEO Consulting during a special work session Monday, as an overflow crowd looked on.
Council members Greene, Robertson, Elliott, Poore, and Bishop were joined by 15 community members that have an interest in a pool of some type being constructed. Mayor Fetty opened the meeting by explaining the council requested additional information pertaining to both pool options, so they are prepared to make an informed decision.
Jodie Geist presented an overview of the Gold Center project which has initially been designed to include an indoor pool for year-round use.
The Gold Center stated they are asking the city for support of the concept by providing the $2,000,000.00 bond referendum for construction, plus an annual operating payment of $75,000.00 to help cover expenses.
Construction of the Gold Center is expected to begin in 2026, as long as funding is secured.
Brandi Shay, a Gold Center board member, stated the Gold Center pool is important to their concept because “It’s a reason for people to purchase membership.”
Mayor Fetty asked “If we were to build a pool at Judge Lewis Park, does that mean the Gold Center won’t have a pool?” Brandi Shay responded “We don’t know.”
Until there is a completed concept for the project, there is no definite numbers as far as total costs/expenses for the project as well as how many employees will be hired. The Gold Center is currently operating as its own entity, and a board has been established for the LLC.
Mayor Fetty asked “Has the county been asked to put money in [towards the Gold Center]?” Jodie Geist answered by simply saying “No.”
The Gold Center board is in the process of scaling the concept back. “We have heard from the community that it costs too much,” Geist stated.
Andrew Pennekamp with JEO Engineering, the firm hired as the city’s engineer, also presented concepts for an outdoor pool at Judge Lewis Park that the City requested last year. Lack of funding was the driver for the project being scaled back to a 4,000 square foot pool.
City Administrator Brent Wise shared a potential pool funding plan with the council and community members present. Prior projected costs indicated the total cost of the project is estimated at $2,936,000.
The city then initiated the bond referendum and successfully gained funding for a public pool, although there was no specific location.
Secured funding includes:
- $200,000 Aquatic Committee
- $300,000 Donation from Larry and Rita Hunter
- $100,000 Anonymous Donation
- $200,000 In Kind Donations ($100,000 each local contractor)
- $1,500,000 BOND.
Potential Grant funding is expected to be approximately $750,000, although no grants have been applied for yet.
Lywanda Case asked who writes the grants for the City.
Administrator Wise stated that two grant writing avenues are available. JEO Consulting could apply for the larger grant applications. Wise also stated that the City has worked with Jodie Geist to write grants in the past. “We’ve been very successful with past grants,” stated Wise.
The outdoor pool timeline presented indicated design could start in September of 2023, and last through February 2024. Due to grant cycles, bidding the project is expected to happen in March/April of 2024 if the Council moved forward in early September. An outdoor pool could be operational by the summer of 2025 according to Pennekamp. Council member Brad Elliott stated “I would like to see an actual operating cost estimate.”
Pennekamp will report back to the council with operational costs for the 4,000 sq ft outdoor pool concept.