“Fuel the Pool” to Ignite Community Enthusiasm for Chinquapin Expansion

As the City of Alexandria awaits a final recommendation from a feasibility study for the development of a 50-meter, indoor competition pool and family-friendly focused renovations to the existing pool at the Chinquapin Recreation Center, Advocates for Alexandria Aquatics (AAA) is building a wave of support and excitement for the project.

“Fuel the Pool” will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, at the Chinquapin Recreation Center (3210 King Street, Alexandria 22302) and will feature guest speaker Andrew Seliskar, USA Swimming 2014-2015 National Team member and national and international swimming record-holder. Seliskar will talk to young swimmers and families about his swimming career, which blossomed in Northern Virginia, as well as the importance of supporting swimming in our community. Remarks will also be given by Congressman Jim Moran (invited), Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille (invited), Alexandria City Council member John Chapman, and Bill Rivers, chair of AAA.  Following his presentation, Seliskar will autograph swim caps and other items.

Advocates for Alexandria Aquatics has pledged to raise $2.5 million through grants and donations from businesses and individuals to supplement the $17 million that the City Council has set aside in the capital improvement budget for a 50-meter pool at Chinquapin. “We hope to replicate the successful public-private partnership that has resulted in the new Miracle Field and accessible playground at the Nannie J. Lee Recreation Center,” says Rivers. “’Fuel the Pool’ is the first step in our quest for a flagship 50-meter pool that will not only meet the needs of our public high school, T.C. Williams, and our two local private high schools—Bishop Ireton and St. Stephens/St. Agnes—which have swim teams, and the Alexandria community, but will also attract swimmers from all over the D.C. metropolitan area.”

A comprehensive aquatics study in May of 2012 (here) coupled with Parks & Recreation Needs Assessments in 2011 (here) and 2013 (here) have confirmed that residents desire better pools, both indoor and outdoor, and that the time has come to replace and improve our three public pools. AAA has drawn upon the expertise of its various members, which represent a myriad of aquatic interests, to provide comprehensive advice to City Council and to help facilitate discussions with the aquatics community, neighborhoods and other stakeholders.

About Andrew Seliskar
Eighteen-year-old Andrew Seliskar, USA Swimming 2014-2015 National Team member, was born in Charlotte, NC and is a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Currently a member of Nation’s Capital Swim Club, Seliskar has been active in Northern Virginia public school and club league sports, including NCSL travel soccer and USAS/PVS, VHSL and NVSL swimming, and studies guitar with local jazz musician Taimoor Saeedi.  He holds local, VA high school, national age-group and international swimming records, including the FINA Junior World Record in the 200M LC Butterfly. Andrew recently won four gold medals competing on the US National Junior Team at the 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Championships. Andrew is coached locally by John Flanagan at NCAP’s Tyson’s Corner YWCA facility.

 

About the Chinquapin Timeline

March 6, 2014 – The City entered into a contract with Hughes Group Architects to conduct a feasibility study of adding a 50-meter, indoor competition pool and renovating the existing pool at the Chinquapin Recreation Center site. (See press release)

 June 12, 2014 – The first public meeting is held and the results of the feasibility study are released. After analyzing the constraints and challenges of the site, the surrounding market area, Chinquapin’s usage, and three years of historical financial data, the determination was made that a 50-meter-pool could be accommodated in the available footprint and the current pool should be renovated to include more family-friendly features and programming. (meeting recap) (feasibility study)

 June-August 2014 – A survey is randomly distributed to the community. Hughes Group Architects and subcontractors meet with stakeholder groups to gather input on the usage and design of the pools.

 September 3, 2014 – A second public meeting is held to present the results of the community-wide survey and other conclusions. Three potential scenarios arise from all the collected data and opinions. (meeting recap) (presentation slides)

 Present – The City is continuing to seek feedback on the potential scenarios via the AlexEngage online forum. Hughes Group Architects is working to narrow down the design and make a final recommendation. A third public meeting is anticipated for December.

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