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New Aquatic Center Proposal

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Category: Middletown City Government
Forum Name: Community Revitalization
Forum Description: Middletown Community Revitalization News
Printed Date: Apr 14 2024 at 1:31pm

Topic: New Aquatic Center Proposal
Posted By: VietVet
Subject: New Aquatic Center Proposal
Date Posted: Oct 21 2019 at 9:49am
Journal story...

Ten years after Middletown left the swimming pool business, two people think it’s time to spend up to $5 million on an aquatic center in the city, an action taken in surrounding communities.

There hasn’t been a city pool in Middletown since Sunset Pool closed in 2009, one year after Douglass Pool, the other city pool, closed. They both closed after a cost analysis showed they would be too expensive to maintain with limited attendance.

The city has replaced the pools with splash pads in Smith and Douglass parks.Now Adriane Scherrer and Merrell Wood are spearheading a project to bring SplashDown Middletown Aquatic Center to the city. They said the center would be built on about 6.6 acres in an undetermined location and cost $4 million to $5 million. They believe the facility can be funded through federal and state grants, private donations and public assistance and be operational by June 2021.“It can be done,” Wood said.When Scherrer was part of the “What If?” campaign that asked residents what they wanted to see in the city, she said 33 percent mentioned a water facility.They’re raising the $15,000 necessary for a feasibility study to be conducted by Brandstetter Carroll Inc. Wood said he’s “very confident” the money can be raised for the three-month study that will offer three proposed sites, receive community input during two public meetings and conclude whether the region can support another aquatic center.

“Middletown is recovering,” said Wood, a former Park Board member and longtime resident. “This would be another reason to come to Middletown, another attraction to Middletown. It’s needed.”Scherrer believes the 90-acre Smith Park, the city’s largest park, would be an ideal location because it’s near the bike path, sits on the city bus line and offers ample parking.They understand for city leaders to approve such a pool plan, the facility must be “run like a business” and sustainable, Wood said. If the center is designed properly with lazy rivers, family slides, competitive and casual swimming lanes, family-friendly water depths, concession stands and conference rooms, Wood predicted it can be operated with 20-30 percent of its funding coming from the city.Scherrer and Wood have worked quietly on the project for about two years and have met with city administrators from adjacent communities. They believe residents from those communities — places without public pools — would support an aquatic center in Middletown.“Perfect location,” Wood said.Middletown City Manager Doug Adkins said he looks forward to seeing whatever the private aquatics group has to share. He said next summer the city hopes to adopt its parks master plan with a feasibility study for a recreation/water center as part of the scope of work.What Scherrer and Wood are proposing has become reality in Oxford. In 2006, Oxford considered building an aquatic center to replace its aging city pool that was built in 1974 and was becoming too expensive to maintain. But when the Great Recession hit in 2008, those plans were put on hold, said Casey Wooddell, the city’s parks and recreation director.Then in 2016, the city decided to go forward with the plans.The Aquatic Center, built in Oxford Community Park, opened this summer to rave reviews and has been a major attraction in the city, Wooddell said. He said more daily passes were sold than expected, and there appeared to be a large number of out-of-town visitors.“It was overwhelming positive,” he said of the public’s reaction. “They would stand in awe.”The Aquatic Center cost $4.5 million with a $25,000 grant from Butler Rural Electric Cooperative for the shelter in the pool area. A local family estate also donated funds for the yellow, twisting slide into the pool.Miamisburg’s Sycamore Trails Aquatic Center includes a pool that can accommodate 1,000 swimmers and a sand volleyball courts with lights. The center built in the late 1990s at 400 South Heincke Road includes a 174-foot tube slide, a 133-foot body slide, a padded frog tot slide, an aquatic climbing wall and 115 parking spaces.The pool also features a one-meter diving board and a 12.5-foot diving well, with the center offering an array of water spray toys, and a wet sand playground and lounge seatingWood has talked to local Realtors who said when people are considering moving, they’re seeking high-paying jobs, quality schools and parks and recreation. So building an aquatic center should be “a high priority” and it could become “an important asset to the future of the city,” he said.


1. We have already established that Middletown residents will not support a public pool venue. Not enough customers at the gate to maintain the pools. Notice no one has clamored for a public pool since 2009. What would happen after dropping 5 million on this idea if we found out there are not enough customers from town or out of town to maintain this new proposal? Wouldn't we have the same situation as before?

2. The story mentions that part of the financing for this will come from "public assistance". Will this form of "public assistance" come from forced taxation possibly raising the city tax rate? If so, that will never fly with the city residents.

3. 33% favor a water facility. Not an overwhelming endorsement as to interest. I would not spend 5 million on this given that little of interest expressed. Confidence levels are gained by majority numbers as to interest.

4. Wood said "Middletown is recovering" but we still have a long way to go to repair/replace the basics with our money rather than this "after basics option" idea. Fancy things come after the city takes care of the basics.

5. There are already aquatic facilities in place in Miamisburg and other surrounding communities. Is it possible that there could be oversaturation of an idea in a given area? Drive 14 miles to Miamisburg for aquatic center activity.

6. Success was mentioned in Oxford since the public pool was replaced. Keep in mind, Oxford also has a large college population that would attract aquatic facility customers. Middletown does not. The "out of town" visitors mentioned would be the college kids I would think.

7. Wood said he talked to realtors and listed as city attractions for new residents are high paying jobs which aren't necessarily inherent with Middletown, good schools which do not apply to Middletown and parks and recreation which Middletown seems to have enough of for it's size and interest level. The comment seems to indicate "does not apply to us" in scope.

8. Wood offers that building an aquatic center should be a "high priority" and "be a good asset for the city". As of now, the information doesn't necessarily indicate that to be true. Would need much more assurance than the information offered in the article. JMO

9. On an unrelated subject......what happened to the "doggie park" idea at the old Roosevelt Middle School site? Died on the vine didn't it? Dog owners were working on support and financing for this weren't they?

I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.

Posted By: buddhalite
Date Posted: Oct 21 2019 at 5:56pm
Yeah, but since when has the lack of public support for anything ever stopped these types of people from doing anything?

Here's an idea - if they want it so badly, just build it with their own money - then the government isn't on the hook for anything.

Bet that stops the idea in its tracks.

"Every government intervention [in the marketplace] creates unintended consequences, which lead to calls for further government interventions." -Ludwig van Mises

Posted By: Dead man walkin'
Date Posted: Oct 23 2019 at 3:15am
Why not waste a couple million of us taxpayers' money on this?
The numbnuts at city hall are going to wast $6 million bucks repaving POINT six miles (that's SIX TENTHS of ONE mile, for those of you at Donham Plaza that have trouble with math) ....where was I?

Oh, yea, they're wasting SIX MILLION hard earned tax payers dollars repaving .6 miles of their downtown dream street!

Why not urinate away a few million on any other screwball idea?

After all, it's not like any of our other streets need repaving.  It's not like 15 or 20 miles of our other streets could be resurfaced for SIX MILLION BUCKS!

Oops...oh wait...they could. Confused

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil" (Psalm 23)

Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Apr 17 2020 at 8:57pm
So, what ever happened to this idea from Woods? Die on the vine? Did someone actually make a decision that this was a stupid idea that would be a money waster with the community not interested in participating? Couldn't raise the money? We closed two public pools due to a lack of interest from the community. Why would you propose an even bigger venue than the ones closed? Not logical to offer this idea any longer for this city.

I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.

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