Community members gather around a map to discuss their opinions on where the future aquatics center should be located. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Community members gather around a map to discuss their opinions on where the future aquatics center should be located. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Public gives two cents on pool project

Consulting team planning multiple opportunities for feedback on potential aquatic center.

Si View Community Center’s gymnasium was filled with more than 140 people at tables discussing debating, and sharing opinions on the future of pool services in the parks district. On Thursday, Jan. 31, the Si View Metropolitan Parks District held a community workshop event to collect feedback on the proposed aquatic center development.

A new venue for swimmers was identified in the park district’s 2017 comprehensive plan and one of the top three community priorities, alongside preservation of open space and connected trail networks. The district is currently conducting a feasibility study to explore options for a new facility.

In order to get community opinion on the topic, the district held a workshop, led by a BERK Consulting, to ask the community where they wanted to see a facility located as well as locations where it should not be.

Erika Rhett, senior associate at BERK Consulting, said the workshop had attendees break into smaller groups to participate in map and vision exercises. The workshop started with groups discussing and placing stickers on maps of the area noting where they did and did not want to see a facility located, including additional notes with reasons explaining why.

The second exercises had groups look through a catalog the consultant team created that showcases elements and components of an aquatics facility. It had water amenities from slides, zip lines and a lazy river, to support elements such as changing rooms, office space, classrooms, exercises facilities and concessions. Groups chose what they felt was most important from the catalog and left additional notes on reasons behind their support.

In a group survey, use for competitions was highly requested but Rhett said she also heard significant support for health and fitness uses. Much of the discussions centered around each element being multipurpose.

Rhett said her team sent the data collected to the park district this week and the team plans to upload the results for the public to read. That workshop was not the only opportunity the public will have to give feedback, she said. In late-February or early-March, a survey will be made available to take more feedback from the public. With those results, the consulting team will conduct another public meeting tentatively scheduled for mid-April.

All of the feedback received is also going to help inform the technical analysis and design consulting teams in their early work, Rhett said. The parks district will take the feasibility work and public feedback into financing plans going forward.

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