Aquatic Center Phase Two Improvements Outlined by Project Pioneer

More to come. The Woodland Aquatic Center, which opened in late 2018, is still poised to have more amenities under their phase two plans. Questions still persist over the funding of these enhancements, which could include a full gymnasium, running track, community room, child care area, therapy pool and more

Future Ballot Issue May Adjust Street Fund Allocations

~ by Bob Volpe ~

Bob Carlsen, one of the original movers and shakers regarding the Woodland Aquatic Center, in an interview with TMJ, outlined the possible phase two construction efforts for the project.

Carlsen, a previous council member, was an instrumental voice in the community when the aquatic center project was being considered. He became a thorn in the side of certain leaders who resisted a long-term plan for the facility.

Bob Carlsen Vice President, Woodland Aquatic Project Board of Directors

Carlsen stated that when the center was being considered, the group spearheading the project suggested the center be done in phases. Phase one was the pool itself, which of course is now in operation. He explained the pool was the most expensive part.

Carlsen explained the pool appeals to families and older folks, but teens don’t seem to be that interested in the pool. He stated that when the center was designed, phase two amenities were included in the design but put on the back burner.

Carlsen said additions in the design included an aqua therapy pool, a sundeck, spa. He calls these additions phase 1-B. Phase two, will be a full-blown design including a full gymnasium, two handball courts, exercise rooms, a community room and a child care room. The plans for the upper-level call for a kitchenette that would serve weddings and other community events, and an indoor walking track.

According to Carlsen back in 2014, the cost for these improvements was about $2.5 million. He said, “It’s at least $3 million now.” He also stated that Woodland Park is one of the only communities that does not have a complete recreation center associated with their pool. “We’ve always wanted to go on and complete the recreation center. I don’t think we’re really finished until we do that.”

Carlsen estimates that, according to the business plan, the full recreation center will increase membership by about 30-percent. He also said the gymnasium will not require further staffing, which will eliminate further expenses.

If and when phase two begins, the existing pool will remain open. Carlsen explained, “All the connections are already designed in.”

So, how do we pay for this expansion?

Carlsen is suggesting the city expand the expenditures from the street capital fund (410 account) to include other projects. He said, “If we make this 410 account available to include the phase two project, a roof over the ice skating arena, and any other amenities our citizens want, we have enough money to pay for it.” He claims by 2025-30 the city will have over $6 million in the 410 account.

His estimates for the 410 account depend on the city’s debt being paid off by 2025. The city, however, doesn’t expect the debt to be paid off until around 2030-35.

Carlsen did specify that this plan should go to the voters to be sure they want these enhancements for the aquatic center. Voters would also have to weigh in on changes to the 410 account to allow for it to be used for expenses other than roads.