By Holly Cook
Roeland Park gave preliminary approval Monday for city staff to move forward with preparing a request for qualifications to retain professional assistance to evaluate the future of the Aquatic Center as the looks at the financial realities of operating the facility without the aid of Johnson County Park and Recreation District.
The city is looking for consultants that “specialize in aquatic facility operations, maintenance, planning and designing.”
According to the staff report the firm’s findings will help the city council understand the net income loss for these operation options:
- Year-round with dome cover or a fixed cover
- 8-month without a cover
- 3-month summer only season
- Summer season with expanded amenities like splash features, climbing wall, inflatables, etc.
Councilmember Claudia McCormack said she was concerned with how expensive a study outlining the proposal’s objectives would be.
City administrator Keith Moody said he would be asking responders to include a fee estimate.
Councilmember Becky Fast, who made the initial suggestion to retain professional assistance, was supportive of the request for qualifications and said she was excited to see what type of response the city gets.
Roeland Park has been struggling to decide how it wants to proceed with the winter operation of the pool after its joint-funding agreement with the Johnson County Park and Recreation District expires in May 2019.
Adding to the stress of this decision was the October failure of the pool’s dome cover due to a wind storm. The council voted 5-2 at its late January meeting to move forward with asking JCPRD to file an insurance claim and pay a $25,000 deductible to have the cover replaced.