The City of Garden City is asking locals to rank possible model designs for the facility that will replace the Big Pool, giving staff further insight into what residents want before approaching the Garden City Commission in the coming weeks.
The latest survey, which is available now on the city’s website and will be included in Garden City utility bills this month, asks residents to consider project designs from three design firms. As of lunchtime Monday, the city had received 245 community responses, said assistant city manager Jennifer Cunningham.
After spending weeks asking the public what they wanted in a public pool, city staff compiled the information and solicited project designs from several firms, requesting designs based on what the public wanted. Several firms were interested, but only three — the three included in the survey — submitted proposals in time, Cunningham said.
Over the coming weeks, staff will interview the three firms and present their findings, along with the survey results and budgeting information, to the city commission in late July or early August, she said.
The proposals are not final plans so much as they are the most recent attempt to see what residents value, Cunningham said. After the presentation, the commission may make a decision quickly to pursue further design plans or hold off to consider or ask for more information.
“This is just a starting point. This is just to kind of get us out there and talking about what people might be interested in,” Cunningham said.
The three proposals are from Barker Rinker Seacat, Confluence, Water Technology Inc., of Kansas City, Mo.; Burbach Aquatics, Inc., of Platteville, Wis.; and Waters Edge, of Lenexa.
The Barker Rinker Seacat project would cost about $15 million and includes many features, including a large pool with competition lanes, an inflatable, floating obstacle course and ropeless climbing wall over a pool, a surfing simulator, play structures for young and older children, open lawn and shaded seating areas and a lazy river with attached large waterslides.
The Burbach facility would range from about $12 million to $15 million and is largely one connected pool sanctioned off into different sections, such as a shallow play area, floating inflatables, large waterslides and a lazy river. A large pool with competition lanes and diving boards and a pool with a multi-platform play structure sit on either side of the main pool.
Waters Edge submitted two designs, both the cheapest options at $9.5 million to $11 million each. Both designs include a large play area for smaller children, other shallow play areas, waterslides and a lazy river. One concept also includes a splash park and the other a diving and climbing wall. Both concepts include a pool with competition lanes, though one is larger than the other.
All projects would likely go where the Big Pool currently sits, since that location was what residents preferred in the initial surveys, Cunningham said.
Waters Edge also included designs for splash parks at community parks, such as a $400,000 to $500,000 splash park at the new Southeast Community Park and a larger $800,000 to $1 million splash park at the corner of Eighth and Emerson.
The budget for the new pool project is largely at the will of the commission, Cunningham said. If the city bonded the money the city currently spends on the pool over several years, it could give staff a budget of roughly $10 million, but that could easily fluctuate, she said. The commission could also decide to allocate funds from savings or other portions of the budget to increase available funds, she said. During the initial community input process, she said residents told staff they did not want an increase in taxes.
But the price tags on the current designs do not necessarily mean that is what the city will ultimately pay, Cunningham said. During the design process, the city can work with the selected design firm to scale back the project to something the city can pay for on a tighter budget. The current survey will help them understand which features or what kind of facility matters most to the public.
Over the course of the interview process, staff will also ask the firms for price estimates on other facilities like splash parks, smaller community pools, some kind of indoor pool and other aquatic projects to give the commission and the public a sense of how much those projects would cost. When weighing the price of the larger facility, the commission will also consider the price of those smaller projects and see what is the best fit for the city, Cunningham said.
Much is still up in the air regarding what comes after the commission’s decision, Cunningham said. The commissioners will decide whether the Big Pool as it exists today will be open for another summer or the summer after that. As for the design, bidding and construction process to follow, much is undecided. For now, the city is working on the immediate next step — what the pool will be and what residents want.