Kirsten Mustain

Grove Sun

The Grove City Council voted three to one, with one member absent, to advertise for preliminary design/build proposals regarding a new city swimming pool facility at a regular meeting Tuesday night.

City Manager Bruce Johnson said the pool proposal would be based upon three criteria — “public health, cost and unique design.

“We are bringing it (the project) back before you tonight because of the truncated time period. We want to have it open by summer, 2010,” Johnson said.

Tim McCrary, Rose and McCrary, P.C. Vice President, presented preliminary plans for the facility to the council with a projected price tag of $1.75 million and a completion date of May 26, 2010.

He said the complex would have a zero-entry portion, two slides, a splash spray feature, and a floatable walkway, among other things. It would be located near the new hospital.

Grove citizen Bill Miller said he didn’t believe Grove needed a new pool. He said he had visited the refurbished Honey Creek State Park swimming pool and found it to be “first class.”

“There are a lot of other things Grove needs more. Streets, for example,” Miller said. “I think you are putting the cart before the horse.”

He also said he felt the decision to ask for proposals was rushed.

Ward III Council Member Larry Parham pointed out that the council was not voting to build the pool, but simply to gather preliminary proposals and he did not feel the decision was rushed.

“We’ve been talking about this since the election two years ago,” he said.

At Large Member Mike Davenport concurred.

“People have been calling me about the pool,” he said. “I said I would build a pool when I ran for office and that’s what I intend to do.”

Mayor Gary Bishop said, “We are not voting to spend any money. We are just going to get a plan. Until we put something up for bid we won’t know what our options are.”

Johnson said the city had budgeted money for a design this fiscal year, and that the cost of the pool would probably be paid in a 15-year lease/purchase agreement.

Ward IV Council Member Gary Trippensee said he was in favor of building a new pool, but felt that the vote was rushing things a bit.

He cast the one vote against advertising for proposals.

In other business, the council passed a resolution commenting on the Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) set forth by GRDA and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Johnson explained that the SMP originally classified Grand Lake Shoreline within the corporal limits of the city as “Stewardship,” meaning that no development of these areas would be allowed.

He said the council had voted unanimously to pass a resolution requesting that the shoreline be reclassified.

“They then changed the classification to Responsible Growth/Wetlands,” Johnson said.

He said he had sent emails to all the agencies involved and asked them to reconsider the classification, as Responsible Growth/Wetlands would require builders to obtain additional permits through the federal government and might preclude development altogether.

He added that he would like to have some questions answered concerning how the Responsible Growth/Wetlands designation would affect the city.

“Grove has been good at self-governing over the last 100 years,” Johnson said. “No one is affected by Grand Lake and the quality of its water more than the city of Grove. This is where we live, work and play. We want to have a bigger voice.”

In the resolution, the council has requested that the designation for shoreline within the city be changed to “Responsible Growth.”

The council also approved a request from the Grove Public School District to close Center Street between 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday during the 2009-2010 school year in order to facilitate safe boarding of buses.

“This is purely a safety issue,” said Superintendent Tom Steen to council members. “Last year we didn’t close the street and it was a serious situation. There are so many students in one place and this is the safest solution we can provide at this time.”

Steen said there had been several “close calls” during the previous school year.

He said the school is currently doing a traffic study of school property to see how the situation might be alleviated.