Chairman’s Update – April 1

Bill Rivers, Chair of AAA, opened the April 1, 2015 meeting by reviewing the discussions at the City Council’s workshop on the CIP budget. The focus was on a new Warwick pool that is scheduled to be built in FY 2017 and on the status of the effort for a 50-meter pool at Chinquapin.

Regarding Warwick, Council Member Wilson brought up the idea of moving the funding to FY 2016 so that the pool would be closed for only one summer instead of two.   The Acting City Manager felt that the construction schedule could not be accelerated; the soonest completion date would be August 2016. He does believe that the City had sufficient funds in FY 2016 to accomplish all of the preliminary work.

The Council discussion on the 50-meter pool revolved around whether there was a realistic possibility that costs could be cut from the projected $30+ million estimate or if the City should accept that a 25-meter pool could be built for the budgeted dollars. Council Members Wilson and Smedberg favored continuing exploration of the 50-meter pool, while the Acting City Manager tended to favor the 25-meter pool alternative.

The discussion at the AAA meeting focused on what course of action AAA should pursue regarding both pools. As part of the discussion, Bill mentioned that the Tenant and Workers United still favored moving the Warwick funding to FY 2016 and that the City had a meeting with a technical director from Myrtha two days earlier to review the Warwick situation. That meeting reportedly went well from the City’s perspective.

Bill also read from an e-mail by Laura Durham that the City met with the Hughes Group representatives earlier in the week and had a good discussion on ways to cut costs in the proposed brick and mortar pool building at Chinquapin. It would appear that City staff was moving forward on the 50-meter pool at Chinquapin. Bill speculated that they wouldn’t do so unless they had the approval from the Acting City Manager.

Another ongoing action was that Bill was contacted by a reporter for the Alexandria Times who was doing an article on Warwick being closed for potentially two summers.

After a good discussion, the Board decided to continue supporting Warwick being funded in FY 2016 and exploring alternatives to make the 50-meter pool at Chinquapin a reality. These positions would be conveyed to Council Members in individual meetings over the next month (prior to the May budget vote). A meeting is already set up with Council Member Wilson for April 6. Carolyn volunteered to contact Members Smedberg and Pepper to set up meetings. Bill asked the rest of the Board to contact the balance of the Council and advise him of proposed meeting dates.

Bill then briefed the Board on a proposal by the Potomac Marlins Swim Team. They would like to approach the City about a joint effort to enclose the Old Town pool in a bubble during the winter months so that the pool can be used year-round. The Marlins would pay for part or all of the cost of the bubble, but it would be predicated on the City also paying for certain improvements – pool heaters, upgrading changing rooms, etc. The Marlins wanted to bring up the idea with AAA first and then have AAA set up a meeting with the City. The Board voted to approve the concept, although there was a concern about not having many details at this time. The Board particularly did not want any money drawn away from the Chinquapin or Warwick projects. AAA Board Member Bob Ludtke has been the point of contact with the Marlins so Bill will get in touch with Bob about developing a plan of action with the Marlins.

It was generally agreed that this would be a good sign to the City that AAA was generating an interest in financial contributions to the City for the purpose of improve aquatics.

Amanda Wall and Bill discussed the April 22nd Spring2Action initiative. Simpson Development will be contributing $2,000 to AAA on that day and we want to leverage that into more donations by the AAA membership. Amanda will develop the plan of action over the upcoming weekend and convey it to the Board.

In addition, Amanda reminded the Board that AAA was working with Ralph Baird to have a workday on May 15 at the Old Town pool. This would involve cleaning chairs, raking leaves, etc. More details to follow.

Bill mentioned the very successful Family Fun Nights being held at Chinquapin over the winter. The remaining two this season will be in April (with Ramsey School) and in May (with Polk School). Compliments to all associated with the successes!

Carolyn Griglione added that there would be an Easter Egg hunt in the pool this Saturday from 1:00 to 4:00. Also, they are considering an adult-only swim time one evening.

In response to a concern raised by Roger about fund–raising, Bill suggested that the May meeting be dedicated to the topic of fund-raising. He is working with Melynda Wilcox on a donor package that they hope to present to the Board at that meeting.

The Board then decided to amend the by-laws to allow for 11 Board members and followed that with a unanimous election of Carolyn Griglione and Dennis Burstein to the Board.

New business was then discussed. Carolyn said that progress was being made on the Make a Splash event, but that she would provide more details after a couple of more meetings on it.

She also briefed the Board on a grant application that she had submitted to the Rotary Club for $10,000 for AAA. This is important also because it means that she has developed a template for other grant applications. The required documents (IRS approval letter, by-laws, etc.) are all available electronically for any other applications.

It was noted that the City was extending hours at the Old Town and Charles Houston pools, while reducing them at Chinquapin. The extensions are to help meet demand at outdoor pools from the closed Warwick pool. Carolyn pointed out that fees had actually been reduced at Chinquapin for the upcoming season.

At Amanda’s suggestion, Bill will contact the person who does our letterhead and ask for the template that he is using. This will allow for Amanda or others to make more timely changes to the letterhead.

Bill wrapped up by saying that he was thinking of ordering an AAA polo shirt. He’ll let the Board know the pricing and availability if others are interested. He also reminded people that we needed to keep a therapy pool in mind while we talk about these projects.

The next meeting will be in May. Bill and Roger Sullivan will confirm the date after checking budget dates to make sure there is no conflict.


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