Merriam steering committee appointed to guide process on community center, pool solutions

The original community center building dates to 1911 and was the first school in Merriam.
The original community center building dates to 1911 and was the first school in Merriam.

Deciding what to do about the Merriam Community Center and the Merriam Aquatic Center will take several months and involve input from across the northeast Johnson County area.

Both of the facilities have had condition assessments that revealed a number of structure concerns that need to be addressed in the coming years. The city has budgeted for a needs assessment and master plan for 2016 to determine how to address the problems at the facilities and to determine what Merriam residents want and will support.

The Merriam City Council last week appointed a steering committee to provide input through the process. The members include: Jim Wymer, Councilmember Ward 2; Nancy Hupp, Library Board Representative; Thelma Fowler, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Representative; Gayle Stephens, Community Member; Stoney Bogan, Downtown Merriam Partnership Representative; Jay Brownawell, Parks and Recreation Aquatic Center Participant; William Bailey, Planning Commission Representative; Larry Cisneros, Parks and Recreation Community Center Participant.

The city anticipates hiring a consultant in 2016 to guide the study. A prior assessment of the condition of the pool and community center laid out three preliminary options for addressing the deficits: preserving the facilities with ongoing maintenance, partial renovation or demolition with new construction. The 2016 study will decide which path to follow.

Merriam Community Development Director Bryan Dyer said several opportunities for public input will be available as the process gets under way.