Letter to City Council – Sept. 10, 2014

We updated City Council on the progress that our organization has made and our efforts regarding Warwick and the Chinquapin Swim Center feasibility study. To read our letter,  

Dear Mayor and Members of the City Council:

We at the Advocates for Alexandria Aquatics (AAA) hope that your summer was both relaxing and enjoyable. With the start of your new Council season and the beginning of the indoor swimming season, we thought that it would be a good time to give you the status of our pool effort:

• First and foremost, we enjoyed using the City pools this summer. And we are very appreciative of the City keeping the Old Town pool open through much of September – an innovative step started last year by the City staff and continued this year. We hope that you had the opportunity to enjoy the refreshing waters as well.

• During the summer, we received our tax-exempt status from the IRS and established a bank account at Burke and Herbert.

• We have been coordinating with ACT, although it is still a little early to use them (they require a balance of $10,000 to start in their system). However, we will be using the same on-line donation tool that most of their charities use – Razoo. It is now installed on our website.

• Several of our members visited state of the art aquatic facilities in Richmond and Christiansburg, VA over the summer. We reported back to the City staff on our findings and they have either already visited the facility (Richmond) or will be in the near future (Christiansburg).

• We have supported the consultant study being done at Chinquapin. Along with attending both public sessions, we also had a private session with the contractor to express our views.

• We met with representatives of the Office of Economic Development to coordinate our effort to get large-scale donors interested in investing in Alexandria through the aquatics program. We will be using some of their material as part of our presentation packages to prospective donors.

• We have continued work with City staff on the proposed Memorandum of Understanding between AAA and the City. That is nearing conclusion now.

• We have received our first donations as we start to build up some working capital to begin the large-scale fund-raising campaign. This working capital will allow us to print and distribute our fund-raising brochure shortly. Just FYI – our first corporate pledge came from Simpson Development.

• We plan on a major fund-raising event in late Fall to officially start our campaign.

• We met with the Dean and staff of the Virginia Theological Seminary to ask for a donation to help redo the Warwick pool (we feel that they are the only major private contributor possible since they own the land). This followed an initial turndown from his staff earlier in the year. We had a very good meeting with the Dean and he promised to take the issue to his Board of Trustees. He has promised a response in September.

• Speaking of Warwick, we do have concerns that a long-term solution needs to be developed this coming year to overcome all of the operational challenges at that site. The decision from VTS will be crucial as to how much funding will be available to build a new pool and rehab the building structure. We expect to work closely with City staff and the Park and Recreation Commission to propose corrective action to you.

• We eagerly look forward to the Chinquapin consultant’s report this fall. The new pools at Chinquapin are starting to become a reality with the centerpiece of Alexandria’s new aquatics system coming closer to fruition.

• We expect to work closely with you all, both collectively and individually. We will want to discuss possible fund-raising initiatives with you and City staff as we progress towards that new aquatics system.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions.

Bill Rivers

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