City Delays Decision On Where To Locate New Pool

Jun 12, 2018

Nearly a year after deciding to spend $4 million for a new pool in District 1, Wichita city leaders are still unsure where to build it.

The City Council voted Tuesday to postpone the issue indefinitely until more information -- particularly about how to pay for the pool -- is presented.

Council members were set to decide between McAdams and Edgemoor parks for the location of the new pool. Both sites lost their pools in recent years and are supposed to get splash pads installed under the 2017 Aquatics Master Plan.

An analysis of the district determined both locations have the existing infrastructure to support a pool. There is strong support from the public and District 1 representative Brandon Johnson to put the new pool in the lower-income McAdams neighborhood, near 17th and Ohio.

“It is so important that this community have access (to) a water park in that community," he said. "The data, as we see who lives there now, supports it. The community will support it.”

Community members spoke for more than an hour during Tuesday's meeting to argue in favor of putting the pool at McAdams.

Credit wichita.gov

Data presented to the council shows the median household income in the McAdams neighborhood is $22,362, about half that of residents around Edgemoor, near Ninth and Edgemoor. Johnson argued that makes it more difficult for McAdams residents to travel, especially given the limited public transportation in the neighborhood.

"Access, I think, is something we should consider as a council," Johnson said. "The kids around Edgemoor can easily get down to McAdams. The kids around McAdams cannot easily get to Edgemoor.”

But other council members, including Mayor Jeff Longwell, say they don’t have enough information on how to fund it. When city leaders were determining which pools to keep open under the new Aquatics Master Plan passed last February, data showed the pool at McAdams Park had low attendance and low revenue.

“I still think a splash pad works at McAdams," Longwell said. "Do we build a splash pad and a pool? Part of that’s going to be dependent on getting these other answers.”

A motion to defer the vote and a motion to move forward with a McAdams pool both failed. Council members unanimously voted in favor of postponing a decision until they have more data specifically about the McAdams option.

Longwell said he wants to look at new sources of revenue to cover the new pool, including a potential benefit district, which would use property taxes to fund the pool and its operating costs.

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