July 23, 2014

Elyria
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Avon mayor: Pool next on to-do list

AVON — Local families could be frolicking in a community swimming pool by the end of 2014.

Mayor Jim Smith said residents have been expressing interest in a pool for some time and the city is now at a point where it can begin to focus on such a project.

“Now that we’ve got the interchange out of the way, we can start to look at other projects,” Smith said. “We’ll be doing the planning stages this year and hopefully will be under construction in 2014 and be completed somewhere in 2014.”

Projected to cost between $2.8 million and $3.8 million, the pool will most likely be built on a portion of 19.8 acres of city-owned land behind the Avon Fire Department on Detroit Road.

The city already owned 12 acres of land in the area and acquired the remainder from private hands, Smith said.

The pool would be paid for through a quarter-percent recreation tax that generates about $1.5 million annually.

The tax is paid by anyone who works inside the city, but 85 percent of the money comes from people who work in Avon but live elsewhere, Smith said.

“We’ve had enough new employees entering the city in the past few years that it’s given us enough finances to do this,” Smith said.

The mayor said he expects revenue from the tax to keep growing as newer businesses enter the city.

City officials will consider plans from a couple of different architectural firms during the winter months.

“We’ll know more by June or July,” Smith said. “We’ll get some ideas about what we should have.”

Talk about the need for a pool has been going on for at least five years.

While exact dimensions and other details are yet to take shape, the pool most likely would include competitive swim lanes, a splash area and a zero-entry area.

The latter is a gradually sloped surface from one end of the pool that allows people who might have difficulty jumping from a normal pool ledge into the water to walk slowly into the water.

The zero-entry feature would also accommodate people with physical limitations who use beach wheelchairs.

The project also would include a parking lot, concession area and restrooms.

“Sometimes the pool is not always the biggest portion of it cost-wise,” Smith said.

City officials have looked at other area community pools, including one in Bleser Park in Avon Lake.

“That’s very inviting and a tremendous asset, but whether we do the same or something similar remains to be seen,” Smith said.

Another portion of the city-owned land behind the fire station will have walking trails through a wooded area, while a third spot will eventually be the site of a new City Hall, although that project is years away, Smith said.

The city would create a membership program that could offer seasonal, day and guest passes, Smith said.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.