Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fallon Park community recreation facility options sink under heavy subsidy

Consultant Presentation for Fallon Park Multi-Gen Center

Consultant Presentation for Fallon Park Multi-Gen Center


A 30-minute briefing turned into an hour Monday after the 2:00 PM council meeting. The consultants presented reality, Steve Buschor Director of Parks and Recreation presented optimism – a sort of “holistic approach.” Council member Dave Trinkle wanted the competition pool anyway.

Both Chuck Musgrave of Barker Rinker Seagate Architects and Ken Ballard of Ballard King & Associates did not recommend the addition of a 50 meter competition pool. Their reason was that the cost would escalate 50% over a leisure pool facility. Not only that it would also increase the operating budget for the center by 50% a year. They noted there is already an outside pool available.

A survey last year said residents would use a multi-generation facility primarily for fitness. After viewing plans for a leisure aquatics center back in the fall of 2008 Trinkle and other members of council wanted the consultants to add a competition pool.

Well it “added” all right. It increased the yearly subsidy from $389,000 to $581,000. The subsidy estimate included the current subsidy of Fallon Park pool ($60,000). It increased the size and cost of the facility from $21 million to $31 million. The increased cost did not include room needed for extra parking. It was suggested that visitors could be bused in or park in the surrounding streets. Ballard stressed that to meet code everything had to be larger – toilets, stairs, and seating area to view competition events. “It’s just not more water,” said Musgrave.

City Manager Darlene Burcham said the Washington Park outdoor aquatic center and the county’s Green Ridge Recreation Center in North County near ValleyPoint would complement each other. Its also available by public transportation said Burcham.

Buschor said the fees for services for Fallon Park would be a la carte and not a membership. Buschor also suggested that the facility be designed for expansion. He predicted it would fill to capacity almost immediately following completion. There would be something for all ages including a water cannon for the teens and a lap pool that can be used for lessons.

Multi-generation recreation center with competition pool

Multi-generation recreation center with competition pool

There was concern over taking patrons away from the YMCA and Vice-Mayor Sherman Lea lamented that the county’s recreation center was cheaper than the YMCA.

The consultants envisioned a 3-mile radius circle that would attract the most residents.

Buschor expects to draw south Roanoke county residents to the city’s facility. Since the city’s budget will not handle additional debt anytime soon Buschor thinks they will have the advantage of observing how Green Ridge performs. Musgrave added that his cost estimation would hold for about a year than after that inflation would kick it up a notch.



Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Community, Roanoke City Politics

Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments (1)

[…] pool. (I never said that. I did suggest when I spoke to council – that listening to their briefing on a Fallon Park multi-gen center and 50% increase in cost to add in a competition pool that the property where the Countryside pool […]

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