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Community weighs in on three proposals for new Ammon swimming pool

Residents jump into an ice cold pool for the Freezin’ for a Reason fundraiser in May 2023 to support the Ammon Pool. | David Pace, EastIdahoNews.com
AMMON — Ammon is wading into a pool of possibilities as it looks to replace its historic swimming center that has served local residents since 1967.
Three options were presented to locals at a public meeting in the City Council chambers Thursday.
“These are not final options,” aquatics consultant with Denver-based Counsilman-Hunsaker Kevin Post said. “These are just concepts and ideas, but it’s really to help us get the feedback and make sure we’re going the right direction.”
The first design features two outdoor pools with a six-lane by 25-yard configuration and a recreational pool. The seasonal, summer operation would include a play area and spray accessories. It would fit 380 guests at a time, or an average daily capacity of 966 individuals.
The estimated total cost for this project is about $15.5 million with an average summer attendance of 30,099 swimmers, he said.
Concept two follows “an indoor/outdoor model with an eight-lane by 25-yard configuration with 125 seats, an outdoor recreation pool and a toddler pool. The indoor pool would be open year-round and accommodate 356 swimmers at capacity for a total of 911 daily guests,” he said.
It would cost about $20 million and attract 147,636 guests annually.
Version three includes an indoor, year-round, “eight-lane x 25-yard pool, a separate recreational pool, 250 spectator seats and a spa. It would fit 411 people per session or 1,049 swimmers daily,” Post shared.
This model would total $32.89 million and be visited by an estimated 203,287 people each year.

Three potential designs to replace the Ammon pool were unveiled Thursday evening. | Counsilman- Hunsaker
Boy Scout Desmond Fullmer, 15, attended the meeting with other members of Troop 180. He said he preferred the second indoor/outdoor proposal.
“I really like outdoor pools, especially when it rains,” Fullmer said.
His friend Robert Hale, 10, agreed.
“All I would like is a bigger waterslide basically,” Robert said.
Support for a new pool is high among Ammon residents in general. Out of 1,921 unique users in a recent Counsilman-Hunsaker survey, more than 97% support a new aquatic center. A strong majority — 73.2% — declared they’d be willing to pay for a tax raise while 6.25% said they would not and 20.56% were not determined, Post shared.
“We’re still very early in the process,” Ammon Pool Committee Chairman Glenn Roth said. “These numbers are big, and I wasn’t expecting them to be small. It presents a challenge … to raise this kind of money to build the facility and keep it operational. Ammon’s a pretty small community.”
Resident Chad Ostergar agreed that the study provided the information necessary to help the community make important decisions in the future.
“The data presented tonight cleared up some questions about operating costs, building expenses, and potential funding sources,” he wrote in an email to EastIdahoNews.com. “It was made very clear in the discussion that pools don’t make money, and a high-performing pool only recovers 80% of it’s expenses from revenues. The community will ultimately need to decide if the costs are worth the benefits.”
The city is hoping to create public-private partnerships, apply for grants and complete another study to gauge whether support exists for a tax initiative to fund the project.
Building a new pool would require voters to approve a bond, which requires a two-thirds supermajority in Idaho.
“It looks like we would need roughly $3 million a year on a bond to build and maintain this thing” depending on the alternative chosen, Ammon Mayor Sean Coletti said.
Coletti said the proposal could potentially be presented as a recreation district that encompasses all of Bonneville County.
While a future site was not named during the meeting, Coletti said that Ammon already owns land that could be used for the new pool. A project of this magnitude would require four to six acres — meaning it would likely not be rebuilt at the site of the current pool.
“We’re pretty reluctant to rip out more green space at McCowin Park,” Coletti said.
The city recorded Thursday’s “Community Aquatics Facility Study” on Zoom and will be sharing the presentation and an additional survey to measure residents’ support or opposition to the ideas.
“We call this meeting our reality check,” Post said. “This is based on what we said we desire. We want to make sure it’s still in line now that we have some prices with it.”

The post Community weighs in on three proposals for new Ammon swimming pool appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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