Jefferson County considers pool
FAIRFIELD — Residents in the unincorporated areas of Jefferson County will have another chance to approve $1 million to go toward the indoor gym and pool project when they go to the polls March 4.
The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors approved a second vote for the unincorporated areas at its Dec. 9 meeting after seeing a petition for another vote with more than 500 signatures on it.
Voters in the unincorporated areas will decide whether to make a change to the 1 percent Local Option Sales and Service Tax (LOSST). If the vote passes, 64 percent of the revenue from the tax will go toward property tax relief for the residents. Another 20 percent will go toward public works projects such as bridges and culverts, and the other 16 percent will go to the pool and gym project.
Money from the tax will go toward the pool and gym project until it raises $1 million or 10 years have passed since the tax was implemented, whichever comes first. After one of those two events occurs, the 16 percent devoted to the pool and gym project would go to property tax relief.
If approved, the change would take effect July 1.
Under its current configuration, 80 percent of the tax goes to property tax relief and 20 percent goes to maintaining bridges and culverts.
If approved, the new outdoor pool would be built at O.B. Nelson Park on the site of the existing pool, which would be demolished first. The indoor gym would be part of the Roosevelt Community Recreation Center, and would occupy the ground west of the current rec center and would be sit between the indoor pool on the south side and the fitness center on the north side.
Fairfield Parks & Recreation director Derik Wulfekuhle said he hopes the indoor gym will include a central lobby, which would serve all customers of the rec center such as those who use the indoor pool, fitness center and gym. Under the rec center’s current configuration, the pool and the fitness center each has its own desk.
The indoor gym would have at a minimum three basketball courts and a walking track. Racquetball courts are planned for the new gym and they would be on the north side.
Wulfekuhle said he would like two of the courts to be wood, which would be ideal for basketball, and for the third court to be “multi-purpose” and made of a material lose prone to scratches such as rubber. He said the multi-purpose court could be used for many non-basketball activities such as a batting cage or a place for the cheerleading team to practice.
The track would go around all three basketball courts. Wulfekuhle said it would be great to put fitness equipment such as treadmills in the empty space between the track and courts.
Wulfekuhle said he expects the rec center to get many new memberships if the vote is passed and the new gym is built. He said he would like to host basketball and volleyball tournaments in the new gym.
Jane McMahon, chairwoman of the pool and gym task force facilities subcommittee, said she would like drop-down nets between the three courts and between the courts and the track. She said some of those things will depend on how much money can be raised for the project.
The new pool would have some of the same features as the former pool along with a few new ones. The new pool would have a 23-foot-tall slide, two diving boards and zero-depth entry, meaning the pool is only a few inches deep at one end and gets gradually deeper toward the other end.
The pool would also have water features such as raised buckets that fill with water and tip over when they’re full, a small slide for children and a place where water would shoot straight up from the ground.
McMahon said the task force has applied for a Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) grant for $1.8 million. The task force has raised $4.5 million in private donations, plus the city of Fairfield has bonded for $3 million toward the project. If the vote passes and the CAT grant is fully funded, the task force should have enough money to complete the project, which is estimated at about $10.2 million.
However, if the vote fails, McMahon said it could put the project on hold for a whole year.
Burbach Aquatics Inc. Architects & Engineers of Platteville, Wis., is ready to begin work on the new pool this spring if the March 4 vote passes.
McMahon said the pool could be done as early as the summer of 2015, and the indoor gym completed as early as the fall of 2015. Carl A. Nelson & Co. of Burlington is the construction manager for the gym while Neumann Monson Architects of Iowa City is doing the architecture for the gym.
McMahon said the rough estimate for the cost of the pool is $4 million and the cost of the gym is projected to be about $6.2 million. She said the two facilities must be done together because the ballot language approved by Fairfield residents who voted for the $3 million bond was for both facilities.