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Aquatic center vote passes

Aquatic center vote passes

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WAVERLY – Unofficial Primary Election results show the voters of Waverly approved a new aquatic center and the sales tax increase to pay for the bond.

A total of 639 votes were cast for a $3.5 million bond to help build a new aquatic center to replace the aging city pool, and 450 against. The yes votes were 59 percent of the total votes.

The numbers were a little closer for the sales and use tax increase, with the yes votes edging the no votes out by 52. Voting for the .5 percent increase were 569 voters, or 52 percent. There were 47 percent, or 517 votes, against the increase. The sales tax increase would be used to pay for the $3.5 million bond.

Kris Bohac of the Greater Waverly Area Foundation Fund said they excited by the results. She is on the aquatic center committee tasked with raising money for the project.

“It’s evidence that the whole city’s behind the project,” she said.

Having the citizens’ blessing will aid the GWAFF in obtaining grant funds for the aquatic center project, Bohac said. They are in the process of applying for grants that “look promising,” she added.

The goal is to raise as much as $6 million for the project, which does not have a final price tag at this time.

“If we could get five to six million total, that would be awesome,” Bohac said.

A fundraising campaign was started last fall and has garnered about $700,000 so far.

Bohac said the next step after the approval of the sales tax increase and bond is to be determined. The committee meets this week to discuss the project. The City of Waverly, which owns the pool facility, has contracted Lamp Rynearson and Associates, an engineering firm, to work on the project. Bohac said a conceptual design has been done, but the final design and engineering work is still in progress.

The idea of building an aquatic center was proposed after an informal poll taken in 2018 indicated residents would like to see a new or improved pool facility. The city-owned pool was built in 1975 and has far outlived the typical lifespan of such a facility, according to experts.

Although the structure is aging, the main issue is capacity. The 4,200 square-foot facility can hold about 200

people at the most, which is not enough on a hot summer day, Bohac said.

The proposed design would more than double the size of the current pool to handle up to 400 people. Proposed amenities for the aquatic center include zero-depth entry pool, lap lanes, water slides, splash area, lazy river and diving boards.

The aquatic center will be located in Wayne Park and construction is tentatively scheduled to begin after the 2020 pool season ends. However, the COVID-19 pandemic may mean that the pool will not be open this summer. City officials have not announced plans for the pool.

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