The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 26, 2014

Webb City residents ask about admission fees, features in pool proposal

WEBB CITY, Mo. — Webb City resident Susie Crutcher said she has been asking the City Council about building a public swimming pool for years.

In January, council members authorized putting a $2.5 million bond issue on the April 8 election ballot that would pay, via a tax increase, for the pool’s construction. Now, Crutcher is hoping voters will approve the plan.

“I grew up in Webb City, and we had a wonderful swimming pool that was a gathering place,” Crutcher said. “My children grew up without a pool, and now my grandchildren are growing up without one. So, I have approached the City Council on several occasions, and I think I got it at the right time maybe.”

If voters approve the bond issue, work could start in the fall, and the pool could be ready to open in the summer of 2015, interim City Administrator Carl Francis has said.

At a public forum Tuesday night, residents asked about details and discussed the features they think the pool should include.

A second forum will be put on at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, at the Route 66 Events Center, 21 S. Webb St.

The dozen or so residents who turned out Tuesday night asked Mayor John Biggs and Francis several questions about finances.

When asked how much pool admission would be, Biggs said he would estimate about $4 per person. Family passes would be available, he said, making entry less expensive.

“We’ll try to make it affordable for everyone,” he said.

Residents also asked how the city would pay for the pool’s upkeep in the future.

Biggs said he knows the city would be committed to operating the pool if it is constructed, adding that it would cost about $50,000 a year to maintain.

“A swimming pool is not a moneymaker,” Biggs said. He said the maintenance funding might come out of the park budget, or the city might look at leasing the pool.

A site in King Jack Park, near land that is being reclaimed as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s cleanup of mining waste in the area, has been posed as a location for the pool.

Francis said the pool’s restrooms and changing rooms would located so as to be accessible for visitors to both the pool and the park amphitheater.

Francis said the pool would have diving boards, lap lanes and water slides as part of the initial construction. Additional features would be built as time passed, he said, to keep people interested in coming back.

Crutcher said she would like the pool to be accessible to disabled people and safe.

“I’m not asking for a destination park,” she said. “I’m asking for something for our Webb City kids.”

Crutcher said she knows it’s a lot of money, “but how do you put a value on our children?”

“Maybe it’s the grandmother in me coming out,” she said.

The cost

IF VOTERS APPROVE a $2.5 million bond issue to build a pool, the town’s debt service levy would increase from 71.8 cents to 91.3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. That would equate to an increase of about $37 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home. The issue will require a four-sevenths, or 57.1 percent, majority for approval.

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