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Proposed pool would cost $2.8M

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Details to be discussed during July 2 fiscal court meeting

By BEN CARLSON

The size and cost of a proposed swimming facility in the county park will be detailed during the July 2 meeting of the Anderson County Fiscal Court.
The meeting begins at 9 a.m. with a work session, followed by a regular session at 10. Both are open to the public.
On Monday, Judge-Executive John Wayne Conway revealed that the facility — a centerpiece of his campaign for judge in 2010 — will cost an estimated $2.8 million, adding that it will have an expanded wading area for small children as well as six competition-sized swimming lanes.
“It’s going to be considerably larger than the wading area at the pool in Harrodsburg,” Conway said, referring to the facility at Anderson Dean Park in Mercer County.
Conway said he met last week with the consulting firm hired in May by the fiscal court to conduct a $15,000 feasibility study for a swimming facility. He said the meeting went well and that the firm’s vice president, Michael Carroll, will present the findings of the study during next Tuesday’s meeting.
“He’s going to go over the demographic numbers and who it’s going to cost to operate the pool,” said Conway. “He will also go over what the projected net [profit] will be.”
The cost is the first time Conway has publically provided a number. He has said in the past that his goal is to have the pool be self-sufficient in terms of operating costs.
Debt, he has said, would be covered through a combination of tax receipts and his all-out blitz to find private donations.
“I already have some gentlemen working on some private contributions, so we’ll see,” said Conway, who has gone on record as saying he isn’t in favor of increasing property taxes to fund the project.
The fiscal court already voted earlier this year to set aside an estimated $70,0000 in receipts from its business license tax to help pay pool debt, an idea that came from Magistrate Forest Dale Stevens.
Having the pool operate without tax dollars offsetting losses, though, is the key to making it a reality.
“You could build a pool and lose your shirt,” said Carroll, the consultant. “What we’d like to find out is what the community wants and needs. If you give people a better product they’ll spend more money there. That’s the bottom line.”
Carroll said the study would include a wide range of issues, including the county’s demographics, income projections and the costs associated with operating the facility.
“You need that information before you can build a pool,” he said. “Part of our job is to reign you in.”
Having a swimming facility in Lawrenceburg has been a decade-long debate following the closure of a public pool in the Legion park.
Numerous fundraisers have been held since that time, and a pool committee several years ago received grant funds to move the project forward.
It never happened, though, despite significant groundwork, including land studies in the county park to find a suitable location.
Conway declined to say just how much tax money he’d be willing to commit to a swimming facility, but emphasized that he wants it to at least pay for itself based on user fees, concessions and party reservations.
He said the manager of the pool at Anderson-Dean Park in Harrodsburg said that pool showed a net profit last year, but doesn’t have to service any debt.

Want to go?
Details about a proposed swimming facility will be revealed during the July 2 meeting of the Anderson County Fiscal Court.
The meeting begins with a work session at 9 a.m., followed by a regular meeting at 10. Both are open to the public, and the 10 a.m. agenda includes public comments.
The meetings are held in the judge-executive’s office on Main Street in Lawrenceburg.