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Future of Aquatics at Heather Farm Park

Nov 02, 2015 03:56PM ● By Jennifer Neys

Future of Aquatics at Heather Farm Park

In 2014, the city council directed staff to seek a partner to finance, construct, operate, and maintain a new aquatic center in Heather Farm Park and work with the city to serve future needs of this aquatics community. The Clarke facility was designed and built in the early 1970s and houses three swimming pools. The age and condition of the facilities, including the bathhouse, present a challenge to the future of the city’s aquatic programs, and the public’s ability to enjoy the aquatic experience is diminished due to the condition of the amenities.

The city issued a Request for Qualifications earlier this year, and the council formed an ad hoc committee to guide the review. The city’s vision is to identify a long-term community partner that will deliver high quality and sustainable aquatic services for the next 30-plus years, including developing the concepts for a future facility with limited or no city capital contribution. The committee identified two potential partners for the council to consider: Harley Ellis Devereaux and Walnut Creek Aquatics Foundation.

At the October 6 city council meeting, Harley Ellis Devereaux and Walnut Creek Aquatics Foundation presented their proposals.  Mayor Simmons said, “At some stage there is going to have to be some type of agreement coming back to the council for approval. We want a clear scope of work, a clear timeline, developing cost numbers and information on the funding sources for construction. Both proponents also raised the issue about stepping in early to operate Clarke, and I think we should also ask that that be coming back.”

In a 4-1 vote, with Mayor Simmons dissenting, council identified Harley Ellis Devereaux, an architecture and engineering firm based in Michigan, as the preferred partner for a future aquatic facility in Heather Farm Park. More information on the new aquatic center will be published as it becomes available.