Swimming pool complex was the topic of a Manila meeting

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Several Manila residents, along with city officials, heard facts and figures on a pool/water park facility Monday night prior to the regular city council meeting. A proposed pool/water park facility has been a topic in Manila for over 10 years.

Perry Carr speaks to city officials and guests with a proposed pool/water park project.

The group heard from representatives from ETC Engineer and Architects (who have built most of the pools across the state including the Paragould Water Park/Pool facility); Jim Alexander, first vice president with Morgan Keegan Public Finance Fixed Income Baking Department in Little Rock presenting financing analysis on a bond issue; and Engineer David Hopkins showing a 20 year master plan adding new ballparks, walking trail, playground and more to the pool area.

Mayor Wayne Wagner and the city council agree it is time to seriously look at the possibilities, as costs continue to rise.

Perry Carr with ETC introduced Will Andrews.

"Will and I have worked together for 20 years," Carr said. "Will knows about pools."

With a bath house, inside therapeutic pool, meeting rooms, outside facility with slides, diving, area, and area for small children the cost was over $3 million.

Carr explained changes can be made to fit Manila's budget and still be a nice pool. He suggested the council look at one they designed in Little Rock for $1.1 million.

Jim Alexander with Morgan Keegan gave the financing analysis for the project. He presented a sample ballot requesting the city pass water park improvement bonds in the amount of $2.5 million to be repaid with a one cent sales and use tax.

He explained the one cent sales tax can only be used to retire the bonds and the tax will expire after the bonds have been paid.

Twenty years is mandatory but it was estimated a one cent sales tax will produce $260,000 a year and the excess will be used to retire the debt sooner than 20 years.

Mayor Wagner and the council toured the Paragould water park/pool facility.

"Paragould water park stays booked up for private parties 66 nights of the year," he said.

The one-eighth cent sales tax Manila presently has for a swimming pool has generated $306,000 in 11 years. The funds are in a certificate of deposit. That tax would remain for operations and maintenance.

There is a time frame to get a bond issue on the ballot by October. An ordinance has to be adopted by the city council on or before Aug. 10; the election ordinance filed by Aug. 11; election Oct. 11; Proclamation of Election results on or before Nov. 4; filing with Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration on or before Nov. 15; and collection of new tax begins April 1, 2012.

"This is our industrial development," Mayor Wagner said. "We are not near an interstate, railroad, or a river. We have our community with good schools to offer."

"We started this 10 years ago," Terry Carr said. The cost of a pool then was $200,000. The cost will continue to escalate. If we are going to do it, we need to do it now."

Jim Cheadle asked if the pool/water park facility would accommodate Red Cross swimming lessons.

The answer to his question was yes.

The proposed drawing included a play pool; diving pool; water slide; bath house; sitting area near the children's pool; concession; inside therapeutic pool.

Visitors had the opportunity to ask questions and talk to the representatives.

The regular city council meeting followed the public pool meeting.

Mayor Wagner and the Council will hold a special meeting the next two Monday nights to discuss the swimming pool issue. They will be held at ???????????????????????

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