Chairman’s Update – September 15, 2015
Attendees: Taryn Brice-Rowland, Dennis Burstein, Laura Fries, Jeanne Garner, Carolyn Griglione, Bob Ludke, Craig Moran, Aaron Rowland, Bill Rivers, Roger Sullivan, Amanda Walls, and Melynda Wilcox
The Board meeting was held at the Safeway Meeting Room with all Board members present.
Bill informed the Board that David Miller from the City staff was leaving and returning to Detroit. David had been one of the principal contacts on aquatics and was very responsive. He will be missed. It was suggested that AAA send a letter to Jim Spengler recommending that David’s replacement have an aquatics background. Bill will draft the letter and circulate it for comment.
Bob then updated the group on the financial status of AAA. We currently have $6,243 in our account with an expected expenditure of approximately $500 coming up for printing costs. Otherwise, there are no major obligations expected in the near future.
The next fund-raising effort will be the Day of Giving, an event hosted by Razoo on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. Bob estimated that we generated about $4,000 at last year’s event. He also expressed a concern that we didn’t have an immediate “hook” to get people to donate – we needed a specific attainable target that people could identify with. Our goal of raising funds for Chinquapin doesn’t present such a “hook” at this time. However, the Board decided to participate in the Day of Giving with the idea that donated funds could start the Chinquapin fund raising. A separate account could be set up for Chinquapin donations so they could be readily identified and returned if for some reason the new pool doesn’t materialize.
To help make the pitch for the Day of Giving, it was suggested that we develop an “Annual Update” showing what AAA has done in the past year. Bob will do some work on that and bring it to the October meeting.
Bill had invited Laura Durham from the city staff to the meeting, but she couldn’t attend. However, he talked to her before the meeting to get an update. Here are her comments:
- Warwick – Cardno has submitted their report to the City detailing the results of their geo-testing and analysis of the building structure. That report is being reviewed internally and then staff will meet with Cardno on any questions. A general observation was that nothing in the report meant that the project should not move along. Also, it appeared to be on target from a budget perspective. Staff will be meeting with Planning and Zoning to brief them, but they don’t expect any problems since they had met with them previously on the project. The next steps will be to submit the report to the City Manager and then to the City Council. At that time, it will be released to the public. She also indicated that the City staff will be contacting the Virginia Theological Seminary at a later date to re-negotiate the lease.
- Chinquapin – She had just met with Hughes and is awaiting the final report from them. Initial reactions are that the geo-testing results are positive and that may allow the cost estimate for the new facility to be reduced. The initial estimates had factored in contingency costs in case of soil problems. The expected report will focus on a one-level pool rather than the previous effort that had the excavation work resulting in digging down two levels to make it the same as the existing pool. This is expected to reduce costs as well, given the lower excavation costs and fewer expenses connecting to the existing building. As with Warwick, this report will be submitted to the City Manager and then to the City Council. Public release would occur with the submission to the Council.She reminded us that the current task order will end with this report. The staff will be looking to the City Manager and the City Council for guidance on how to proceed. It is expected that this will depend on how far the revised approach has lowered the estimated costs. If a further reduction is required, then another task order will be issued asking for a review of more options. She indicated that she forwarded our comparison chart to Hughes that detailed various alternatives to the initial brick and mortar approach. She also indicated that Hughes had contacted Myrtha and was aware of the possibility of getting discounted Olympic Trial pools.
- Arlington/Alexandria – Staff was aware of the recent Alexandria Times article and its poll. She liked the fact that the article has helped raise public awareness of aquatics, but was concerned about some inaccuracies in the article. She also said that the poll basically ended up being neutral – no strong showing one way or the other, but with a desire for more information clearly needed. The article raised the issue of the Park Authority’s proposal regarding the historic property in Old Town and the implications on the Wave Pool. She indicated that staff will address that at the Park and Recreation Commission meeting on September 17, and will recommend that public input is needed. A more in-depth discussion and public comment period is expected at a later meeting.
- Colasanto – Bill had talked to Laura about a plan by some private citizens to organize a group to develop alternatives to the currently closed pool. Staff had heard about that effort and have been requested by the City Manager to develop some cost estimates. Bill indicated that he told the citizen group that AAA supported the idea of a combined aquatic/artistic project, but that we would not be part of the fundraising since we had to concentrate on Chinquapin. At the Board meeting, some concern was expressed that the Colasanto fundraising may draw away from the Chinquapin effort. However, it is expected that the Chinquapin effort will be focused on different donors than the Colasanto effort.
- Lee Center – There has been some discussions about doing something to replace the closed pool. This has been part of the neighborhood park plan effort and would be viewed as an interim step towards a goal of a therapeutic aquatic facility there.
After the City update, Bill then presented the Board with some ridership numbers from DASH regarding the free bus service during the summer. DASH reported that 10,767 people rode the free buses during the summer period. Of that, only 339 went to the Old Town pool. As the group discussed, the pool ridership was lower than we hoped and would certainly lead to a different version of the program next summer, if one is done at all. He also stated that the “Free Swim Day” was held on August 29. There was a good turnout at the pool, but the pool staff felt that it was about what a normal Saturday would generate. Finally, he mentioned that the Sponsor Appreciation Day was held on September 11th. That was well attended and resulted in several positive comments from attendees.
Bill will try to set up a meeting with David Miller and DASH before David leaves to discuss the program and see what options we’d want to pursue next summer. He will advise the Board when that meeting is set up.
The next two agenda items – the Arlington/Alexandria issue and the Park Authority’s proposal – were covered during the discussions of Laura’s comments earlier. One exception was that Bob asked Bill to clarify what the Board should be looking at regarding a 50-meter pool on Eisenhower Avenue. Bill indicated that the City staff would be addressing the specific Park Authority’s proposal first, which only had a 50-meter pool as part of an alternative that included eliminating the Wave Pool. Bill had previously asked Board members about the reaction to a 50-meter pool being added to the Wave Pool complex, but that was related to a discussion with a member of the Park and Recreation Commission (PRC) member. It is not part of the current proposal so no action is needed now. However if the PRC does propose the idea of adding a 50-meter pool to the Wave Pool, he would ask the Board to take a formal position on that. This would revolve around whether a 50-meter pool should be at Chinquapin or at the Wave Pool.
Melynda then gave a status of the development of the large donor package. Final details have been worked out with the graphic designer and the package has been sent to the printers. She showed the Board members the material that will be part of the package and indicated that we hoped that the printing would be completed in the near future.
Jeanne reminded the Board members that there would a “Doggie Day Swim” for large dogs on Saturday, September 19, at the Old Town pool. She encouraged people to bring their dogs and asked anyone interested to volunteer to help coordinate the events that day. A swimming day for small dogs was just held at the Houston pool on September 13 and went well.
Carolyn briefed the group on a recent meeting of the Seminary Hills Citizens Association where Laura Durham presented the plans for the 50-meter pool at Chinquapin. She reported that Laura did a good job and that there were no objections voiced by the Association to the prospect of having the pool built there. Carolyn also took advantage of the meeting to describe AAA and the overall aquatic effort.
Bill ended the meeting by stating that he would get back to the group and propose a date for the October meeting. That meeting may be held at the DASH building.