March Update

Contract Award

As indicated, the contract award went to the Hughes Group. They are employing several subcontractors. The good news is that many of the subs are recognized experts in their field so hopefully that will translate into a quality report.

For your info, here is a link to the City’s press release.

My understanding is that they are meeting with City staff this coming week. Just a reminder – the first part of the study to be completed in 30 days is to determine whether a 50-meter pool can even fit in at Chinquapin. It will not involve public meetings like the balance of the contract.

City Budget

The City Manager presented the proposed FY 2015 City budget to the City Council on February 25th. Mostly good news for aquatics – the capital funding of $23 million through FY 2018 was left untouched. That’s a big plus for our effort. Only challenge in the budget was that the City recommends closing Warwick this summer to save operating costs. I met with the Warwick Village Citizens Association (WVCA) this week and they are going to start lobbying Council to keep it open. We supported that position last year and should do so again (see below item for more details).

Warwick

The long term solution to Warwick involves its owner – the Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS). The City, WVCA, and AAA met with VTS last week to update them on the City’s budget. The City representative clearly explained to them that additional funds were needed to replace the pool to keep it open long term. Otherwise, it didn’t make sense to keep trying to do a band-aid approach to repairs there.

Unfortunately the VTS representative did not feel that donating funds to a pool was in the program mission of VTS. However, we will have a follow-on meeting with Dean Markham to discuss this further. His decision will be critical to the future of the Warwick pool.

For the immediate problem of the proposed closure this summer, I would recommend that all AAA members also write to Council and support keeping the pool open while negotiations are going on. Without the pool there, it is unlikely that the kids in Warwick Village, Arlandria, Lynhaven, and parts of Del Ray will be able to swim this summer, as many of them walk to the Warwick pool. Getting to other City pools isn’t a viable option for many of the families.

There is also the question of parking at Old Town. The construction of the new Jefferson-Houston School has closed the off-street parking around the pool. If the school construction disrupts the parking through the summer, attendance there will suffer. Patrons may want to seek other options like swimming at Warwick.

New AAA Board Member

At the Directors’ meeting in February, we elected Amanda Wall to fill the vacancy left by the unexpected death of Michael Wright (a founding Board member). Amanda has been very active in aquatic projects both in Texas and in Virginia and brings a wide knowledge of and experience in both swimming and aquatic management to our group.

I would expect to get a formal AAA message on the budget to Council within the next week.

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