Friday, August 29, 2014

50-meter pool would benefit our community

By Jonathon Howard

A recent article (“Swim facility gets nudge from Aquadarts’ boss,” June 20) and op-ed piece (“A six month plan to meet our challenges,” June 23) have appeared in The Enterprise to inform the Davis community about the critical maintenance backlog of vital city infrastructure.

We encourage the community to consider the proposed swim facility as a smart solution that will increase public and private revenues as well as provide the Davis aquatic community with an updated facility for a comparable cost to simply maintaining the existing ones. The proposed facility is a result of community surveys, outreach, facility analysis and discussions with the city that began as early as 2011.

Maintaining quality-of-life amenities can help Davis attract businesses and increase the value of nearby land. If Davis hopes to maintain and grow its local economy it must invest in its community, including parks and pools. Doing so is critical for the City Council to fund services and infrastructure over the long term.

In the short term, however, the city must rely on a tax measure to fund the backlog of repairs for roads, parks and pools. The recent sales tax bridged the city’s operating deficit, but did not fund infrastructure. If not only the roads but the parks and pools continue to deteriorate, the backlog of necessary repairs only will increase.

Of Davis’ four public pools (Civic, Community, Arroyo and Manor), only Civic and Community pools are centrally located and capable of operating year-round. However, Civic and Community pools are old and both have gone without necessary renovations for many years. The lack of maintenance results in unreliable, expensive operations and repairs are barely sufficient to keep them operational.

Community Pool continues to operate on a minimal basis only through a public-private partnership with the Davis Aquadarts and is not otherwise available to the public. Summer use of the Schaal Aquatic Center at UC Davis is in high demand, and university uses often take priority over community uses.

Given Davis’ large and active aquatics community, these facility limitations constrain the aquatics groups’ ability to accommodate increasing demand or host revenue-generating competitive events. The Davis Aquatic Masters, Aquadarts, AquaStarz, Water Polo Club and Davis High School water polo and swim teams have more than 2,000 current participants and a 50-year history of participation and alumni support. Another 5,000 families visit the Davis public pools every summer.

Refurbishing the 30-year-old Civic and Community pools would cost $7 million. By comparison, replacing Community Pool with a 50-meter pool at an estimated cost of $9 million will accommodate all of the user groups’ needs today and for the foreseeable future. The user groups overwhelmingly prefer this alternative and are willing to pay for it through fees.

This alternative also allows the city to close Civic Pool, consolidate operations, decrease net operating costs and release real estate that the city could redevelop or sell at its discretion.

For the Davis community, a 50-meter pool will provide year-round opportunities for adults to maintain and improve their health and fitness, opportunities the public pools currently do not offer. In addition, revenues from major events hosted at the proposed 50-meter complex could be substantial. Events held at in the city of Roseville’s competition pool resulted in community revenues of more than $700,000 in 2007 and more than $1.4 million in 2013.

We encourage residents of Davis to learn more and express their views on roads, parks and pools to the City Council. Residents also can express their views by emailing the council at

— Jonathon Howard is a Davis resident and a member of the Davis Aquatic Masters board of directors.



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