After hearing various sentiments about an outdoor pool at the Hot Springs Village Property Owners’ Association board of directors’ meeting last Wednesday, chairman Tom Weiss told the board he would bring the issue to the June board meeting.
Several said they want an outdoor pool, but were uncomfortable not having detailed drawings prior to a board vote. One property owner asked who would pay for the plans, citing East Gate plans developed several years ago by an engineering firm.
Some wanted to move quickly so a pool could be operational by next year, while others said they need more time to study the issue.
Chairman Tom Weiss early in the discussion suggested placing the pool in the 2019 budgeting process. He said the board needed drawings and the expected cost up front.
Chief executive officer Lesley Nalley said funding was placed in the current budget for a pool. Funds for a pickleball complex were pulled from the outdoor pool budget, leaving $700,000 currently for a pool. But other funds could be available from previously escrowed funds.
Nalley said the staff will develop a new plan if the board would clearly list “guardrails” – total budget, features and other issues the board would require to approve a pool.
In the initial pool survey, around 2,500 people favored building an outdoor pool, Nalley said.
Vice chairman Bob Cunningham said it might be possible to design the pool so desired features could be added later, if the POA did not have enough funds to design a pool that property owners want. He cited the “pickleball model,” where the complex was designed to add lighting and covers later when funds are available.
Recreation director Stacy Hoover said it will take 48 weeks to complete a pool from the date of bids.
A large, vocal crowd urged the board to turn down plans for a $1.1 million outdoor pool at the April board meeting. A variety of reasons cited by various owners included waiting for a new board to make the decision to unhappiness that it would cost more than $700,000. Others felt the pool should be in a different site, needed different features or they were not comfortable with a “design build,” without detailed plans initially. And others did not think building a pool would be good use of money.
During public discussion last week, Pat Pochert urged quick action to move forward on outdoor pool. “This is an amenity that belongs in any community like this,” she said.
She told the board an outdoor pool had been one of HSV’s first amenities, and that building a new outdoor pool should be considered as maintaining an existing amenity, rather than a new amenity. “This is a replacement, not some new amenity,” she said.
The pool is important to the hundreds of children who live in the Village and to visiting grandchildren, she said.
Pochert urged the board to have a design by the June meeting, to accept bids in July and to start construction in August, with a goal of opening next year.
In other business, Weiss opened the meeting by saying Roberts Rules of Order will be followed to save time and to preserve the democratic process. Directors and the public should address the chair.
Questions will be limited to a total of 15 minutes on each section, with each member of the public having up to two minutes to speak.
Weiss urged the public to have their comments prepared so their key points can be presented without running out of time.
He asked directors to prepare proposed amendments to motions beforehand when possible.