Piqua Commission weighs options for new pool


By Aimee Hancock

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PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission held a work session recently to discuss the city’s proposed options for building an upgraded family aquatic center. Representatives from Brandstetter Carroll Inc. attended the meeting and gave a presentation regarding the outcome of the architectural firm’s completed feasibility study.

According to architect Phil Schilffarth, the in-depth study considered several factors, including conditions of the city’s existing municipal pool, which was closed for the 2021 season due to COVID-19 and to allow for the firm’s assessment. The study also took into account things like demographics, expense and revenue forecasts and citizen priorities.

The city of Piqua’s existing aquatic facility was built in 1986 and, according to Schilffarth, is currently undersized to support the actual population of 21,000 residents.

“The pool is beyond its useful life and does not offer similar features and amenities as other nearby facilities, such as Troy, Tipp City and Huber Heights,” Schilffarth said. “Based upon attendance metrics from other area pools in western Ohio, a new and up-to-date family aquatic center in Piqua will attract 39,000 visitors per year and generate nearly $236,000 in annual income.”

According to Schilffarth, the current pool operates on an annual deficit of approximately $100,000.

To determine the interest of the community, an extensive web-based survey was implemented as part of the study, Schilffarth said, which garnered over 650 participants. These responses “solidified the need to revamp the existing municipal swimming pool by providing new features, programming opportunities and support buildings in an effort to create a 21st-century community resource,” the study summary states.

It was determined through the study that the existing pool location, within the Pitsenbarger Sports Complex, would suffice to accommodate either an updated or completely new aquatic center, so finding a new location would not be necessary.

According to Schilffarth, the study includes three proposals the city to consider.

The first option is a refurbish of the existing pool and pool house structure. The estimated cost to make all necessary fixes and updates to the existing facility is around $2.5 million. This option will get the pool operational, but will not include any “extras” or added amenities. A complete refurbish would include fixing cracks in the pool, adding a new concrete floor, adding ADA accessibility, fixing light fixtures, new water slides off the existing tower, cleaning everything, and repairing both the pool house and concession stand.

The second option is to renovate the facility, which would include a new pool, the addition of a lazy river and splash pad, new water slides and complete renovation of the existing pool house and concession stand. The estimated cost for this is $6.4 million.

The third option is to build an entirely new facility. This option would include 10,200 square feet of water surface area with 30,000 square feet of deck and grass beach; two water slides; spray features; interactive features; a lazy river; six 25-meter competition lanes; zero depth access; food service; umbrella tables; a filter building; and a pool house. Construction costs and related expenses for this option would total around $7.4 million, according to Schilffarth.

The option to construct a new facility would come with an estimated annual operating expense of $232,000, and an estimated annual income of $236,000. This annual operating income is based on the forecasted attendance, the admission rates, and rentals and programs that could be offered, Schilffarth.

This estimation includes proposed daily admission rates of $6 per adult, $3 per child, $200 family passes, $70 individual adult passes and $60 individual youth passes.

As for financing the new facility, Schilffarth said options can include General Obligation bonds and/or a voter-approved levy.

“Based on $7.4 million, the debt service could vary from $350,000 to $460,000 per year depending on the duration and interest rates at the time,” the study states. “When considering the recovery of operating costs in conjunction with the current $100,000 operating deficit of the existing pool, the overall effect on the city’s budget would be somewhere between $250,000 and $360,000.”

Schilffarth said this could be funded through a voter-approved bond levy where the average cost per household could be less than $50 on an annual basis.

The commission will further discuss the options at a later regularly scheduled commission meeting.

To view the full feasibility study report and/or watch a video of the presentation, visit www.piquaoh.org/municipal-pool-presentation.

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