Merriam approves facility use agreement, letter of understanding with surrounding cities for pool usage

Juliana Garcia - January 14, 2020 9:00 am
A rendering of the new pool that’s being built in conjunction with the Merriam Community Center.

The Merriam city council on Monday evening approved two items dealing with pool usage, both of which involve agreements with neighboring cities.

For the first item, Merriam entered into an inter-local agreement with Overland Park as a contingency plan if the new community center is not up and running by Memorial Day, which falls on May 25. The agreement would allow the Merriam Dolphins Swim and Dive team to use Young’s Pool, 8421 W. 77th Street, for practice during the six-week season.

Merriam will let Overland Park know the team needs to use the pool by May 1, and pay Overland Park $2,000 per the agreement, Parks and Recreation Director Anna Slocum said. Below are the parameters of the agreement, as outlined in city documents:

  • Five 25-yard lanes for swim practice
  • Two diving board, immediately following practice
  • Starting blocks in 50-meter pool, scheduled as needed
  • Restroom usage and small closet
  • Deck space for exercises

Councilmember Whitney Yadrich asked if Overland Park would be willing to prorate the fee if Merriam doesn’t need the facility the entire six weeks. Slocum said the two cities had not discussed prorating the fee, and that Overland Park would be counting on the revenue from Merriam if the team does need to use Young’s Pool. Additionally, Slocum said it hopefully won’t come to that.

Merriam Parks and Recreation Director Anna Slocum, pictured left, discusses the details of the contingency agreement with Overland Park to use Young’s Pool for the 2020 season.

“We’re not planning on having to use it,” Slocum said. “We’re going to do everything within our power to get those kids in the pool before June 1.”

Immediately following the unanimous approval of the agreement with Overland Park, the city council considered a letter of understanding between Merriam and other northeast Johnson County cities. When one of the six pools in the understanding is hosting a swim or dive meet, their members can use the Merriam outdoor pool by showing their city-issued membership card.

A letter of understanding has been in place since 2009, and applies to the same cities that participate in the Super Pass program: Merriam, Mission, Fairway, Leawood, Prairie Village and Roeland Park. For 2020, there are three changes to the agreement outlined in city documents:

  • Adjust to reflect Johnson County Parks and Recreation District no longer operates Roeland Park’s aquatic facility
  • A statement that requires visitors of the Merriam Community Center “to receive an indelible stamp” for sole use of the outdoor pool
  • If the outdoor pool is closed at Merriam, the pool hosting a meet is responsible for letting its patrons know they cannot attend the Merriam pool

The letter of understanding was passed unanimously and with no discussion.

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