The Merriam Community Center and Merriam Aquatic Center took a step in the direction of what they might look like in the future when approximately three dozen residents weighed in on what they would like to see happen.
Merriam is considering the future of both facilities after assessments of the physical condition of each revealed serious structural deficiencies. Some residents immediately suggested that the community center needs to be replaced because its deficiencies are so great it is too expensive to repair. But the discussion also included deference to the historic nature of the building and ideas for what people would like to see in a new or renovated facility.
The community center, consultants from Confluence said, has a great location across from the Merriam Marketplace and near the downtown. The original building dates to 1911 as an early school for the area. The gym was added in 1938 and further additions were made in 1951 and 1989.
The building, which has a basement below the water table, has 19 sump pumps and water damage is an ongoing issue. The building also has ADA compliance deficiencies and lacks a sprinkler system and adequate emergency lighting.
The pool also has ADA problems and the concrete needs regular repair. It also has outdated dressing rooms and much of the mechanical equipment has reached the end of its useful life.
The focus of Tuesday’s community meeting was to get ideas for what residents would like to see in a new pool and community center, whether that meant renovations or rebuild. No decision has been made yet on that. A community survey is opening today for all residents to add their ideas. Already more than 60 people participated in smaller focus groups about the two sites.
Consultants said they expect to have recommendations by the end of the year based on the community feedback and the structural assessments.