By Joe Bachman
The city approved plans to develop designs for a new aquatics center in Wisconsin Rapids on Thursday night in place of Mead Pool, which is out of commission this summer.
The $15,000 project will see new designs from multiple firms for an outdoor aquatics facility. This move will push forward the debate of whether or not it’s in the best interest of the city for an indoor or outdoor aquatics center.
“I oppose it; and I oppose that this council is giving up their right to make a decision,” said alderperson Tom Rayome, who is not in favor of outsourcing design development to outside firms. “[We] can come up with a plan — come up with what costs would be.”
Alderman Scott Koth proposed to wait and see what the results of a city phone survey are in regards to community consensus on a pool before spending any money.
“We should probably wait and see [what the results of the survey are] before we spend any money,” said Koth.
According to Public Works Director Joe Terry, the staff has had the opportunity to see preliminary results of the surveys.
“The recommendation of staff and some elected officials is to consider a number of options,” said Terry. “It’s an outdoor option with several components and potential pricing options.”
The options range from a concise outdoor option with partnership from the YMCA as an indoor option, to an outdoor option with little indoor options, to a larger outdoor option with no indoor option. Terry emphasized that with the Mead Pool currently shut down, that it’s in the best interest of the city to move on designs and act fast.
“We all need to be comfortable with what the facility may look like, and what it might cost,” said Terry. “We currently don’t have any of that — so the goal is to try to get some proposals to bring back to the council for approval, and develop a number of different scenarios so that as this survey is completed, we can also see what some concepts may look like.”
The motion to gather conceptual designs for a new aquatics center was ultimately passed by a 5-3 vote.