ARC Board updated on swimming pool


A swim in cool refreshing water sounds wonderful as we experience triple digit temperatures in Oklahoma. However, it will be a couple of years before Alva can expect to enjoy a dip in a local municipal pool. Dr. Kay Decker, a member of the committee working on swimming pool funding, said it all depends on the funding cycle, but she’s estimating a summer of 2024 opening.

Decker reviewed efforts of the committee and an update on the current situation to members of the Alva Recreation Complex Board in a special meeting Thursday afternoon. Currently the ARC Board is responsible only for the recreation complex. The Alva City Council is moving forward with plans to add city parks and the swimming pool/aquatics center to their oversight. Their name will change, too, becoming Alva Parks and Recreation.

Members of the board present for the meeting were Dr. Troy Smith, Gregg Glass, Matt Tucker and Gail Swallow. In addition to Decker, Mayor Kelly Parker was in attendance. City Deputy Clerk Heather Bonham kept the minutes.

Decker reviewed the results of an online survey with 568 respondents. She said 88 percent wanted the pool to remain in the same location and the majority wanted to retain portions of the historical structure. The city owns the property where the pool is located as well as Hatfield Park, the ball field, the municipal cemetery and the fire department training facility.

Kimley Horn of Oklahoma City was selected to design and oversee construction of the municipal pool project for Alva. Counsilman-Hunsaker is the aquatics engineering firm for the project. Decker said they are the top aquatics engineering firm in the U.S. Daren Brevard is the city’s principal contact at Kimley Horn.

The City of Alva has contracted with Porterfield Surveying of Enid to conduct all necessary surveys of Hatfield Park and the pool area.

Paula Hofford, formerly of Norman and now of Maryland, is the city’s Land and Water Conservation Fund consultant. She is writing the LWCF grant application. Decker said the application is expected to be submitted by Sept. 15 and will request $500K to $750K.

Federal funding and historical preservation require a lot of paperwork and regulations.

Decker said it’s important to get the grant application submitted by this fall’s deadline. The SCORP (Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan) under which the application is written will be changing next year.

Although the Land and Water Conservation Fund grants are federal money, the LWCF distributes the funds to the states to administer. Last year, Oklahoma received $6 million. The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department oversees the grants. LWCF grants are a 50/50 match meaning the city will need to contribute as much as the grant to the project.

Because the swimming pool was built by WPA, it is an historic structure which required an historical structure analysis and application to the State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO). Decker said that application has already been submitted. Because the swimming pool land is part of the Hatfield donation to the city and the park has some historic structures, Decker said the city will probably have to go ahead and do a master plan on the park. She suspects SHPO will require it.

Presently, the pool project is waiting to hear from SHPO, preparing the grant application for LWCF and waiting for the topographic survey results of the pool and Hatfield Park.

The Washburn Family has donated $500,000, and Share Trust has pledged $1.5 million in matching funds. Donations from community members total approximately $20,000 to date. Decker said an additional $3.5 million will need to be raised locally and in grants to pay for the $4.8 million project. Tax funding may need to be considered.

The ARC Board was interested in what will be done to prepare the swimming pool site and how the final design will look. A drawing of the pool plans was provided, but Decker said they hope to unveil the project design later as part of a fundraising effort. The plans are still preliminary.

The existing pool will be demolished but the plan is to keep the bathhouse unless there is a substantial void under it as there is under the pool. The cost of demolition and material removal will be offset with county help and some individuals who have volunteered. Decker said the old pool held 16,000 sq. ft. of water while the new one will hold half that much.

The new pool will include a climbing wall, inflatables, a basketball goal, a splash pad and lots of shade. There will be a waterslide and space for kayaking and canoeing lessons. A diving board was not considered a priority in surveys or in the public hearings. Only five lifeguards will be required.

Mayor Parker said the city also will be pursuing other grants. They have recently hired a new grant writer who will start full time July 1.

There was a brief discussion on next year’s budget.

Parker said the city will have the ordinance to form the Parks and Recreation Board on the June 21 city council agenda. After approval, it goes into effect 30 days later.


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