10/30/13 Tuesday evening approximately 75 people gathered in the Lincoln Junior High School Auditorium for the “Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork” community forum.
Committee members were introduced and include Mayor Mark Senter and City Attorney Sean Surrisi, local businessmen Francis Ellert and Brent Martin, Eric Holsoppal from SJRMC, Melissa Christenson from the Plymouth School Board, LeAnn Senter PHS Swim Coach-Plymouth Aquatics Club (PAC) Coach and aqua director for the Fitness Forum at LifePlex, Jeffery Smith VP of the PAC, and Angela Drury President of the PAC. Also attend was Eric Wolf from Construction Control who has volunteered his services and Dale Neuburger from TSE Consulting in Indianapolis who is helping with the feasibility study.
Some statistics released included 6801 children in Marshall County under the age of 9 and over 14,000 under the age of 18. A total of 328 children took swim lessons at the Plymouth pool while approximately 50 kids are members of the Sharks Swim Club. High School swimmers in the county number at 150 with students from Plymouth, Bremen and the Culver Academy. Coach Senter said this year there are 24 high school students participating in the swim team even though the school doesn’t have a pool and they practice at Oregon Davis. It was also noted that 84 kids participated in the Swim Club’s Stroke & Turn Clinic and there are approximately 25 tri-athletes in the county.
The committee opened the floor to hear from those gathered. Several members of the Sharks Swim Club and High School Swim Team were on hand as well as their parents and others interested in the possibility of an indoor aqua center for the community. They were asked to tell what type of facility they wanted with what amnesties.
The list included a retractable roof, 10 lane pool for competition, the possibility of a 50 meter split pool that would offer more flexibility, a diving well, heated therapy pool, and a weight room for the dry land component of competitive swimming. Other comments included the idea of an indoor-outdoor pool with a water-park feel including a few slides and lazy river to make it a destination that people would want to drive to and pay to enjoy.
Former PE teacher at Lincoln Junior High, Sue Stinson and 50 year life guard said, “Getting students in 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades in the pool is extremely important to offer.” She commented that so many kids were learning to swim in the school program and that isn’t happening now.
Julie Staffer, of coach for the Plymouth Swim Club said in Kokomo she was able to take swimming beginning in kindergarten. She too said, “We need of offer exposure to as many students as possible.” She also noted that Wednesday night open swim for families is a plus.
Folks asked about the possibility of grants to help fund the project. They also asked about a site for the aqua center. Although no site has been singled out the current city pool or city park is a favorite of the committee. They have also looked at the Liberty Street Depot, property near Plymouth Veterinary and during the meeting Mary Holm offered property at LifePlex as an in-kind donation to the project.
Terry Borggren, West Township Trustee asked what happened with the school’s indoor pool. Angela Drury said there were safety concerns with corrosion under the pool, liner issues, soft spots in the concrete and when too much water was in the pool and it would spill into the gutter system the water would end up in the AD’s office. The pool had out lasted it life expectancy.
PHS assistant AD John Scott attended the meeting without question until the comment was made that there should be 100 hours of activities scheduled at the facility to break even. His calculation was that the facility would need to be open from 6 am to 9 p.m. 7 days a week. He also said it would take 3 to 4 full time employees to operate it.
Dale Neuburger said operational costs of the pool are fairly steady whether there is one or two in the pool or twenty to thirty. Mr. Scott also noted that the retractable roof would create more issues and suggested a garage door type opening would be easier.
The community willing opened up to the committee with suggestions and comments but if you were unable to attend the meeting, you can still let the committee members know your thoughts and concerns at PlymouthBuildAPool@gmail.com.