Preliminary Colonial Park Pool Plans Include Jetted Benches, Rock Climbing Wall And Possible ‘Happy Piranhas’
Preliminary plans for the new pool at Colonial Park include lounging chairs in water, jetted benches, a lily pad crossing station, several play structures, a diving board, rock wall and drop-slide. A panel of about 30 West U. residents along with the Parks and Recreation Board viewed a presentation Monday night by PGAL’s Jeff Gerber and Haley Panton with Water Technologies, Inc.
“I’m really pleased with what we are going to show you,” said Gerber. “I think you are going to be excited about it; I think it accommodates what you guys asked for.”
Gerber reviewed the plans for the West U. Fitness Center pool before the presentation on the proposed design for Colonial Park Pool – which was designed as the city’s “recreational pool” with the objectives of accommodating all age groups, being multi-functional, to accommodate high user density with a “low density feel” and provide activities that will “complement and support the other facility.”
The design includes three depth zones – a zero-depth entry to 3’, 3’ to 5’ and 5’ to 12’. The current pool at Colonial starts at 3’, other than the toddler pool. The toddler area in the new pool will be incorporated into the main pool. The lounge chairs, in 6 inches of water, are designed to provide a line of sight to the shallow toddler area, which includes three play structures.
The actual choice of play structures and design of the structures can be decided at a later date once the overall design plan is approved. Panton said “theme” choices could include a “happy piranha” slide.
Other detail issues such as the amount of lifeguards and the cost for using the pool will also be discussed at a later date, although Panton said the current configuration will likely require at least five or six lifeguards, up from the current three.
City Manager Michael Ross said after the meeting that the budget required to run the facility will be presented to council along with the plans for approval. The user costs will be designed to pay for the cost of operating the facility.
The new design, while much larger than the current pool, is within the same footprint and takes away no greenspace from the park. Lap swimmers brought up concerns about the length of the three lap lanes, which are proposed as a shorter 60 feet, but maintain the current 7-foot width. The lanes were designed to accommodate other activities such as water volleyball and basketball.
“I think a lot of times what happens is that the lap lanes get taken up with a few amount of people,” commented a resident on the panel after concerns by lap swimmers were voiced. “It’s going to get more crowded, I’m glad the lap lanes are flexible. (Lap swimmers) can come swim some other time when it’s not peak family time.”
Residents were reminded that the Colonial Park Pool is designed mainly for recreational use, and swim lessons and lap swimming will likely take place at the Fitness Center Pool, with Colonial Park used only as an overflow facility for those activities.
A few residents brought up concerns about crowding, and one mother said she is concerned that she will be “chasing her kids all day” due to the many different activity areas.
“I go to the pool to relax – when I see this I think I am going to be chasing my kids all day,” said the mother of three young children. “A lot of the people don’t want to sit in the sun all day – I was wondering if we could consider not having the big play structure.”
Another mother echoed the sentiment, saying, “We go to the pool with our families to have time with our families – we don’t need all this fancy stuff.”
“I think if we are successful here, you are going to be chasing your kids all over the place,” said Gerber.
The Parks and Recreation Board will see tweaked plans at their May meeting before approving plans and sending them to City Council for consideration. Residents with questions or comments on the design can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.