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Avon eyes September start for community pool project


AVON — When he was elected mayor after serving four terms on City Council, Bryan Jensen said one of his top priorities would be seeing that a community pool was built during his first year in office.

City Council and others got a look at how plans are progressing toward making a $6 million pool complex a reality by Memorial Day 2015 during a presentation Monday night.

Patrick E. Thornton, a principal with Sixmo Inc., a Rocky River architectural firm, told officials and 15 to 20 audience members that the project’s schedule calls for site construction work to begin by September and work on the pool itself to get underway by mid-October.

The 600,000-square-foot project is to be built on land bordered by Detroit and Avon-Belden roads by the community’s post office and Fire and Police departments.

“We’re looking to fast-track this,” Thornton said. “Once we get dirt moved, projects like this typically move fast.”

Residents won’t be asked to foot the bill for the pool with any additional tax money, as the project will be financed by a combination of loans and a parks and recreation tax assessed for each new home built in town.

Plans call for the project to be paid off in eight to 12 years, according to city officials.

Figures presented by Thornton indicated the 50-meter pool will cost $2,159,000 while site work will total $2,765,000, with an additional $1 million budgeted for general trades.

The pool project, which calls for separate swimming areas, is to include separate lanes for lap and exercise swimming and competitive meets, as well as an area with water slides and a large play area with above- and below-water features.

The dual areas could be used simultaneously.

Thornton noted costs for a lazy river, which has been discussed as an element of the pool project, were not included in the figures presented Monday night.

The $6 million also does not include a standard 10 percent contingency fee set aside for unforeseen construction issues or emergencies.

The pool complex will also include restrooms, concession areas, locker rooms, offices and equipment and storage areas.

Memberships, fees charged to organizations staging competitive swim meets and concession sales would go toward operating costs, officials said.

A 2008 survey of residents done by the city Parks and Recreation Department indicated a majority of households felt a pool was important to the community.

“We want to make this the jewel of Lorain County and the area,” Jensen said.

Council also heard from Diana Munz, an Olympic medal-winning swimmer from Chagrin Falls who works with Counsilman-Hunsucker, a St. Louis-based aquatics planning firm that helps communities develop and manage swimming pools and recreation complexes with pools.

Jensen contacted Munz, who competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, to seek professional advice.

She earned a gold medal as a member of the 800-meter freestyle relay swim team, and a silver medal in the 400-meter freestyle in Sydney. Four years later, she earned a bronze in the 800-meter freestyle in Athens.

The mother of two children, Munz said the city’s proximity to Lake Erie coupled with the positive effect of exercise and family time a community pool offers makes the project one that would offer “something for everyone,” including swim lessons and therapeutic programs.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or

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