Shortly after Roeland Park councilmembers voted against continuing efforts to replace the Aquatic Center’s dome for the 2018-2019 winter season they pushed forward a $31,000 consulting contract that will guide pool operations after the city’s joint-funding agreement with the Johnson County Park and Recreation District ends in May 2019.
The council unanimously agreed to use the Lenexa-based consulting group Waters Edge Aquatic Design to provide recommendations on pool operations, consider funding and revenue generating strategies, and evaluate improved pool programming.
Waters Edge will also project net income loss for five potential operating schedules:
- year-round with a removable dome enclosure
- year-round with a permanent free standing flexible membrane structure
- extended summer season without a structure
- standard 3 months summer only season
- summer only expanded to more of a water park with amenities such as elaborate splash features, climbing wall, inflatables, etc.
The consultants will collect pool users’ and public input during the study through forums, social media and on-line tools.
In its proposal, Waters Edge principal engineer Jeff Bartley commented that the consulting group “understands the tremendous impact an aquatics facility can have on a community and the importance of the ongoing analysis of aquatic trends to ensure the facility remains dedicated to the community it serves.”
The analysis was referenced several times during the council’s discussion on how to proceed with replacing the dome, which allows pool use to continue into the fall and winter. Councilmembers ultimately abandoned plans to exchange the failed dome with a similar structure after encountering several expensive and time consuming obstacles.
Councilmember Jen Hill said she thought the analysis could come up with a solution that is “way better than the dome.”
Councilmember Claudia McCormack agreed, commenting that replacing the failed dome with a similar structure was like “putting a brand new car frame on an old jalopy.”
“I think we have a lot of solutions other than the dome,” McCormack said.