Dear AAA membership:
This was a sad day for AAA, for children who do not yet know how to swim, and for all in Alexandria who value recreation centers, parks and other amenities that make our city a desirable place to live and raise a family. Today on behalf of the board, AAA Board Chair Bill Rivers delivered a letter to the City providing the required 60-day notice to withdraw from the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that formalized our public-private partnership to build the new 50-meter pool at Chinquapin, and to terminate our working relationship with the City on this project.
We have worked closely with the City for over four years to improve the aquatics infrastructure of the community and to bring to fruition a new pool at Chinquapin. By a conservative estimate, the volunteer community has spent over 11,000 hours of its time to help the City. Over $800,000 of volunteer time and City funds has been spent on a project that was arbitrarily and abruptly eliminated by the City this year.
In the letter, the Board cited two primary reasons for cancellation of the MOU: first, the action by the City and the City Council to remove all funding specifically identified for the proposed pool at Chinquapin from the current budget; second, the failure by the City to communicate and cooperate with its partner as required in the MOU.
The MOU was jointly signed by the two parties in August 2016. Yet, just three months later, the City Manager acted without any consultation with AAA to stop any further action on the pool project. The City Manager subsequently removed the pool funding from the following budget and the City Council agreed with him. This lack of cooperation with an established partner is even more surprising given that the City is advocating an expanded use of partnerships to help bridge its funding difficulties.
As part of dissolving the partnership, we have requested that the City return the $5,000 that AAA had previously transferred to the City for the project and that the City discontinue using AAA and its representatives in any of its promotional advertising for the City.
Finally, I’m personally very sad to announce that Bill Rivers has resigned from the AAA board effective May 30, 2017. He has led our Board since its inception with an abundance of energy, problem-solving skills, patience, professionalism, collegiality, good humor, and delicious pumpkin bread at every meeting. We will miss him.
The rest of the board will remain in place for the immediate future, and until there is a clearer picture of whether the blue ribbon panel appointed by the city council will consider the future of the pool in its deliberations. We will continue to keep you apprised of new information as we receive it.
Thank you for your continued support. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Melynda Wilcox, Vice-Chair
Advocates for Alexandria Aquatics