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The Rundown – City Commission moves forward on pool & ballfields

Post Date:07/08/2020 2:42 PM

The Rundown is prepared by the City of Newton Public Information Office to summarize the City Commission meeting and does not represent official Commission minutes.

12 p.m. July 7, 2020, Newton City Commission meeting

At a special meeting Tuesday with the Newton Recreation Commission, the Newton City Commission agreed to move forward with the planning process for a new Municipal Swimming Pool and an additional ballfield at Centennial Park.

The pool, which is owned by the City and operated by the Rec Commission, is aging and has a number of major maintenance issues to address in the near future. City staff presented a series of options for Commissioners to consider, along with very rough cost projections. Commissioners expressed most interest in an option that would make all the necessary mechanical repairs, as well as:

  • Replace the existing pool with a six-lane lap pool and a 12-foot deep end for 1-meter diving boards.
  • Add a zero-depth entry area, small lazy river, spray feature, and bigger/additional slide.
  • Upgrade the bath house.
  • Add shade structures and replace diving boards, chairs, lighting, fencing, etc.

The Commission also gave the go-ahead to build an additional ballfield at Centennial Park. In the past two years, the City has made drainage and sanitary sewer improvements and added parking, walking paths, and new restroom/concession facilities as part of the park’s master plan. Newton Baseball Club and others have been advocating the past few years about the need for additional ballfields, both for local teams and for tournaments that could potentially bring hundreds of families into town.

Total costs are estimated at about $2.1 million for the pool upgrade and $900,000 for the field improvements. It’s been proposed that the two projects be bonded together through the Public Building Commission (PBC), which is funded jointly by the City, Rec Commission and Newton School District.

Under the plan, the City and Rec Commission would each need to pay about $114,000 in 2022 and 2023 and $94,000 in 2024 before the PBC could absorb the full amount of the bond payment. City staff said the City’s portion could be paid with sales tax funds set aside for infrastructure and development, but Rec staff indicated the Rec Commission might have to increase its mill levy to cover its portion.

The City Commission directed City staff to bring back additional information and next steps at an upcoming meeting.

For more information, please contact Director of Communications Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or emcdaniel@newtonkansas.com.

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