Published On: Wed, Aug 16th, 2017

Which pool options will float in Wausa ?

WAUSA — A full Wausa citizen audience gave up one of the last beautiful evenings of summer to fill a community building Aug. 14 and talk about the future of their swimming pool,

The meeting, featuring three representatives from JEO Consulting Group Inc. and JFL Architecture Inc., provided ideas and input on the future of Wausa’s swimming pool.

The overwhelming sentiment showed that the townspeople want a new pool.

Hailey Seagren, 12, jumps into Wausa Municipal Swimming pool and friends Justice Pomerleau (left), 12, and Jersey Schmeckpeper, 14, laugh on Monday, June 6, 2016.

“You don’t want to put any more of your dollars into that old pool,’’ said JEO’s David Henke, Recreation and Aquatic Department Manager from Wahoo

Terry Meier, JEO Community Development Specialist, and Viv Novotny, JEO client development, reinforced Henke’s effort to help guide Wausa into discovering the answer to what kind of a pool project is right for the community.

JEO began as a company about eight decades ago and has 170 staff members.

The most talked about idea for the pool would be something similar to a $1,257,123 aquatic center in Axtel, population of 696.

The Axtell pool is 4,180 square feet with a bath house of 2,082 square feet.

No action was taken during the evening and no plans were set in stone.

Wausa community leaders will have to decide on a firm direction before progress continues on the pool.

“They could decide tonight,’’ Henke said. “Ninety percent of the battle is the undergrade system and keeping the pool’s repair from settling. It is just like having a leak in a house roof.’’

JEO estimates the project would take anywhere from a year to a year and a half.

“It is a good safe bet that you will lose one pool season,’’ Henke said.

Upkeep and repairs on the existing pool have cost the tax payers $3,500 plus a couple thousand for painting.

“Continuing to put money into the pool is skirting the issue,’’ Henke said. “The next thing you have to decide is how much do you want to spend on this pool project. What does it look like?”

Several audience members expressed the importance of a zero-entry level pool for the youngest and the oldest in their community.

The thumb and most likely of a handful of funding options laid by Meier into the minds of Wausa residents included a local sales tax option which means a one-cent sales tax could generate more than $4,500 per year and $700,00 over 15 years at 3.5 percent.

“This would require a vote of the people,’’ Meier said. “Only those inside the city limits would be voting.’’

Another choice would be general obligation bond. Meier estimated Wausa’s inside city-limits residents would pay $120  for taxes on a $50,000 home to raise half a million.

A successful campaign asking for donations could also raise funds for the project.

“Private donations come in when people see that work has been done on a project to bring in finances,’’ Meier said. “Local campaigns may be difficult because many people are hesitant to donate until asked.’’

Meier gave the example of a teacher who gave to a different project outside fWausa.

“She had no children and so she donated $4.5 million that people had no idea  that she had,’’ Meier said. “She was never asked to give so she didn’t. To compete with private donors, grants and other sources for funding projects, you need to show you are ready. The route to take may be looking into ADA Americans with Disabilities Act to show the pool needs to be built with considerations so that all people may use the pool with a zero-entry pool option.’’

Considerations of putting the option of up to a vote were discussed with a great amount of input from the crowd. No finalizations were arrived upon and no size or dollar amount was set up during the meeting.