Last month, we asked our readers what issues they wanted to hear the candidates running for local office address ahead of this fall’s local elections primary. Based on the input we received, we developed a five-item questionnaire for candidates running for city council in Lenexa.
Today, we begin publishing the candidates’ responses. The first question was as follows:
After hearing from residents who said they wanted to see the facility remain in operation, Lenexa staff are looking at possible options for the future of Ad Astra Pool. What’s your desired outcome for Ad Astra? If you hope to see it remain in operation, how should the city pay for it?
City Council Ward 1
As I have talked to Lenexa residents in the surrounding neighborhoods of Ad Astra Pool, I wanted to know the opinions of all of the neighbors not just the members of the pool coalition. My conclusion from these conversations is that the residents overwhelmingly want to keep their pool. Many of the neighborhoods did not build pools in their neighborhoods because of Ad Astra and they would like to see it updated and reopened.
Tuesday night, the city council will vote on a resolution upon city staff’s recommendation to reopen Ad Astra for the 2020 season paid from the General Fund. This will allow them time to make a decision for the long term plan for Aquatics in Lenexa. I support opening Ad Astra for the 2020 season.
Lenexa is thorough in its planning and always has long term goals in mind. The Vision 2040 plan wants to create neighborhood nodes to build a sense of community. I feel that Ad Astra could be an integral place for bringing the neighborhood together and keep in line with this long term vision of a neighborhood model.
I support Ad Astra opening next year while the future of the aquatics needs of the community is determined. If Ad Astra is to reopen next year, the city has already established how this will be funded.
Any time a community loses a service, it is a difficult decision for all parties involved. The closing of Ad Astra impacts me personally. My son is on the Lenexa Lazers swim team and we purchase a Lenexa pool pass every year because our neighborhood does not have a pool. I also understand that the cost recovery is at 43%, which, equates to a subsidy of approximately $69,000 per year. Along with the low attendance rates, structural and ADA accessibility issues- changes need to be made with this site.
I would like for the city to proceed with conducting a public engagement process. This additional study will provide the data necessary to make a decision on the city’s aquatic options from an entire community perspective.
City Council Ward 4
My desired outcome for Ad Astra would be approving the City staff’s recommendation that the pool stay open for the 2020 season and funds to support the necessary maintenance and operation be reallocated from the General Fund for FY 2020. The Governing Body will have public engagement regarding this recommendation at Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting. Also, a resolution authorizing the execution of an agreement with Water’s Edge Aquatic Design to conduct additional public impute for the future of the Ad Astra space will be on the agenda.
The pool has been a vital part and the heart of the community for more than three decades. Neighborhoods around the pool do not have their own pools and Ad Astra Pool provided a walkable and bikeable pool in their community. I support a YES vote.
I am in favor of keeping “neighborhood” style pools throughout the city, as I see the strong benefit for residents to be able to walk or bike to these facilities, and the safety they provide for moms with young children over larger centralized pools. However, the structural issues and inaccessible parking at Ad Astra make it a difficult decision for the city to approve the estimated $6M price that would be required to renovate it for long term use and to bring it into compliance for allowable slope for accessible parking. If elected, I would rely on city staff to help evaluate what other projects could be delayed in order to make this a feasible part of the budget.
Tomorrow we’ll publish the candidates’ responses to item two:
What’s the biggest challenge facing the city of Lenexa today, and what should city government be doing about it?