With the days winding down in 2015, I wanted to send the best wishes of the AAA Board for a very happy holiday to all of our members, as well as our thanks for your support over the past year.
I’d also like you to think back to what you and AAA have accomplished this year. Here’s a partial list of things that you can be proud of:
- Day of Giving: We set a goal of $3,000 for the December 1st Day of Giving. And met it. We collected just over $3,000. Thanks to everyone who contributed. You’re helping us get closer and closer to our goals.
- Costs for the 50-meter pool at Chinquapin: When we started the year, we received the bad news that the cost estimate had gone from $20 million to $30 million, making the likelihood of a pool rather dim. However, AAA sent a letter to the City suggesting ways to reduce costs and the City took it to heart. They went back to the consultant and worked with them to come up with a new way of looking at the pool construction. While final figures won’t be released until next month, it now looks like the new Chinquapin pool can be built within the City’s budget of $22.5 million ($20 million from the City and $2.5 million in private sector funds). This is very significant given all of the attention now on large dollar budget items. AAA, along with City staff, deserve a big “Well Done” for continuing to press for a reasonable cost pool. If things continue on schedule, design work will start later in calendar year 2016, with construction in the 2018 timeframe.
- New Director at Chinquapin: The current director will be leaving at the end of this month for some well deserved retirement time. We are fortunate to have our aquatics contact with the City – Laura Durham – taking over as the acting Director. Meanwhile, AAA has been working with the City to develop a position description that ensures that the new hire will have a serious aquatics background and will be on board to help the transition to the new pool. We have provided some specific criteria for the position that focuses on starting up and operating a 50-meter pool. This is another good example of AAA and the City working together to make Alexandria better.
- Warwick: Speaking of successes, the dollars for the new Warwick pool will be voted on in the next budget cycle. It’s looking good for the new pool to be open for the summer of 2017. Assuming City Council approval, the design contract will be awarded by the end of spring 2016 with construction starting later that year.
- Splash with Dash: AAA worked with the City and the DASH Transit system to provide free bus rides from the Warwick pool area to the Old Town pool this past summer. In an innovative arrangement, DASH offered free bus service during certain hours during the week and expanded hours on the weekend so people who regularly used the now closed Warwick pool could get to the Old Town pool for free.
- Family Fun Nights: AAA worked with the Chinquapin Advisory Council and the City to provide Family Fun Nights during the year at Chinquapin. These Friday night events focused on getting school kids to the pool for fun and games. They have proven to be an outstanding success and are now being expanded from the elementary schools to the middle schools. An added benefit is that many of these kids and families are first time visitors to Chinquapin!
There are many other things that AAA is doing, but this message is long enough as it is. Relax and enjoy the holidays and know that you are part of a group that is making a difference in our City!
Chair, Advocates for Alexandria Aquatics