Summer miracle? 2 public pools may stay open if deal OK’d

Tue, 03/17/2009 - 4:07pm
By: John Munford

Two Peachtree City pools initially targeted for closure due to budget cuts may remain open this summer after all, but under new management, if a proposal is approved Thursday night by the City Council.

USA Pools, which previously has handled pool management, lifeguards and swimming lessons for the city, has proposed to assume full operations of both pools. City officials had planned to close the Clover Reach pool and even perhaps the Pebblepocket pool this summer.

Both pools have been operated by the city for more than three decades.

The arrangement will save the city $34,000 in lifeguard services, pool chemicals and utilities, although the city will pay utilities and be reimbursed by USA Pools as revenue comes in.

Also, the city will get an estimated $16,000 and $65,000 in revenues depending on the success of classes, programs and activities. Under the agreement USA Pools would expand its programming during the entire 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. operating hours of the pools.

Free swim time for Peachtree City residents at Pebblepocket and Clover Reach may fall by the wayside, though. The proposed schedule offered by USA Pools is chock full of other fee-based activities such as parties, swimming lessons and water aerobics.

The company is proposing day camp and summer camp programs, however.

Even if USA Pools only meets 25 percent of its projected capacity for the year at both pools, the city will earn $16,481, more than enough to cover the utilities at both pools, which last year totaled $4,600.

The proposal is up for a vote at Thursday night’s council meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

To save on chemicals, USA Pools will convert both to salt water chlorination systems.

The proposal does not include operations at the Kedron or Glenloch pools, although city staff have indicated they are looking at privatizing the Kedron fieldhouse and pool operations as well.

In a memo to the council, City Manager Bernie McMullen noted that in addition to being a revenue-generator for the city, the deal would also keep Pebblepocket and Clover Reach open, preventing mechanical systems from deteriorating from non-use and also keeping the sites from becoming vandalized.

In other agenda items —

In hopes of preventing future conflicts between cart path users and homeowners, Peachtree City may adopt a new ordinance Thursday night.

The new rule would require developers to give a 50-foot wide greenbelt to the city in areas where paths will be built between residential lots. The ordinance also would require the location and design of the path to be shown on construction documents.

Also under the proposed ordinance, the only clearing and grading allowed in the greenbelt would be limited to what is needed to build the path, according to a memo from City Planner David Rast.

The idea is to prevent problems like those reported by residents in the Cedarcroft subdivision, who have complained recently of rowdy activity on the paths along with carts traveling too fast with small children present. The path in question was designed to skirt right up against property lines of several homes.

Not helping matters is the fact that path is used by many people, and at all hours of the night, because it is the main route to the 24-hour Walmart Superstore.

In other business, council is expected to postpone a decision on Callula Hill, a proposed 80-home subdivision and event center that would be built next to Lake McIntosh on a 37-acre site currently zoned for industrial use within the city’s industrial park.

Complicating matters is the proximity of the city’s airport, Falcon Field.

The postponement is due to a request by city planning staff to conduct a “planning study” of the Southpark industrial park and Lake McIntosh area.

The study would analyze all the undeveloped tracts of land in the area, the alignment of the access road for Lake McIntosh, the proposed lake amenity that will be built by the county, Rast said in a staff memo. Another key issue is figuring out how the area will be connected to the city’s multi-use path system.

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