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Recreational facilities, new pool discussed

Staff Report

Facility improvements and a new swimming pool were discussed during Monday night's city council meeting and a special called work session at Tallassee City Hall.

Councilman Darrell Wilson called for the meeting to look into the potential for a new pool. "I've been having a lot of people express an interest in it," he said.

Tallassee mayor Bobby Payne concurred. "I think we need to look at it. We need to look at financing. It might be doable."

The Tallassee Parks and Recreation Board has introduced plans at two public meetings for a new recreation center with indoor and outdoor pools, a splash pad and locker rooms. In addition, the 35-acre property on Highway 229 would include tennis courts, softball, baseball and soccer fields.

"The citizens are very excited about having a new rec center," said councilman Terrel Brown.

McKee and Associates

Wilson's suggestion is to look at city-owned property behind the softball complex in East Tallassee.

Heather Johnson of the council questioned Wilson with the other project on the table. "So, your idea is to have two separate pools in town?"

"I guess it'd be that way if a new rec center materializes," Wilson responded.

The idea by Wilson was news to Tallassee Recreation Director Rick Golden. "This is the first I've heard of a stand-alone pool." Golden stated that the current summertime pool brings in about $19,000 per year through memberships, swim lessons, daily passes and the swim team. The net profit of the operation is roughly $3,000 annually.

Councilman Bill Godwin commented, "My suggestion would be that we have some roll up the sleeves meetings, if a new complex is feasible. If not, we'll look at other options."

Tallassee Tiger Sharks swim coach Donna Funderburk talked about the challenges of the current pool.

"We need a 25-yard pool. Ours is 30 yards. The swimmers have to readjust everytime we go to a pool. It's hard for the kids. The starting blocks are not good. We need starting blocks at both ends of the pool. Our diving area is not legal. We need eight to ten lanes.

"Most everybody is swimming year-round. You can have water aerobics, lap swimming, physical therapy, year-round practicing. During the day it can be set up for senior citizens. You could have several programs."

Renderings courtesy of McKee and Associates

Attorney Dale Segrest introduced a proposal to set up a separate recreation board to fund the recreational complex master plan proposed to be located in the Tallassee Industrial Park. Segrest has served as executive director of the Tallassee Redevelopment Authority.

"The Parks and Recreation Department is a city department. It serves at your pleasure," said Segrest. "This is a special vehicle authorized by state statute for a particular project, the project on 229. This is the proper legal vehicle as a financial tool. This would not impact the day-to-day operation of the parks and rec department."

The legal entity would be comprised of three board members initially.

"I've proposed five," said Segrest. "It would have the authority to issue bonds because of the debt limits for municipalities. Once it's incorporated, (the council) would elect (additional) members. The law is perfectly clear. This corporation does not obligate the city. It's not liable. The city would not undertake any financial obligation. This is tailor-made for this type of project."

The council opted to table the proposal for further review. Johnson and Brown opposed Wilson's motion to table that was seconded by Rob Rygiel.

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