Manila City Council members expressed their agreement with Mayor Wayne Wagner's recommendation for a pool site at a special called meeting Monday evening, Jan. 30. Following a lengthy discussion the council voted unanimously to go forward with the proposed site on the corner of Davis and Lake Streets, across from the city park, north of the tennis courts.
(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Mayor Wagner said he had made his recommendation and it was up to the council to make the decision.
"Mrs. Janella Wall Caraway has agreed to sell the city six or seven acres at a fair market price of $7,000 an acre," Wagner said prior to the vote. "There is access to sewer and water. We will save enough on the sewer, water and streets for the price of the ground."
Council members were originally looking to obtain 40 acres for the swimming pool with plans for a new ball park and walking trail, but agreed they are pleased to have the option of locating the pool near the city park.
Wagner said he had been working with David Hopkins, engineer with Landmark Engineering, and there is enough room for the pool and ample parking. A walking trail can be moved around the pool and a crosswalk can be made from the park to the pool.
Mayor Wagner spoke to the engineers about the cost difference in separating locations for an outside pool and a therapeutic pool.
"I have talked to David and he thinks the difference in the cost for separating the pools will only by about $70,000 to $75,000," Wagner said.
The council has been looking at attaching a therapeutic pool to the community center.
Wagner suggested the swimming pool complex be named the Dunkin-Wall Manila Water Park.
"We appreciate Mrs. Janella and all her family has done for Manila," Mayor Wagner said. "People my age will remember what Harold "Trigger" Wall did for the ball program and the youth in Manila."
Wagner said the one-eighth sales tax which was voted on years ago will remain for maintenance and operation of the pool and the one cent sales tax voted in last year will pay for the project and then sunset.
"I think you have hit a grand slam on this," Councilman Baltimore said. "I know we were thinking of a new park but I like keeping it where it is."
"I always wanted to keep everything together," Councilman Davis said.
"Our people deserve as good as Jonesboro, Memphis, or any big city," Mayor Wagner said. "I hope people will know we have stretched their tax dollars as far as they will go."
Councilman Hawkins said when they first started looking for a site, he and Councilman Baltimore had discussed what a great place the corner would be for the pool but did not think it would be possible.
Hawkins made the motion to purchase no more than seven, no less than six acres across from the park for the Manila Dunkin-Wall Water Park. Baltimore seconded the motion which passed unanimously.
Councilman Donovan (daughter of Trigger and Janella) expressed her support for the site but refrained from voting.
"We appreciate Mrs. Janella, Linda (Councilwoman Donovan) and Rande Wall," Mayor Wagner said.
Councilman Wagner asked about sponsoring the first season pass to be sold at the Manila FFA Alumni Auction on Feb. 11.
"All of the proceeds from the auction go for scholarships," Councilman Wagner said.
The council all agreed it would be a good idea.
Councilman Wagner also suggested allowing the young people to get lifeguard certification this summer and reimbursing them for the classes if they work at the Manila pool.
Mayor Wagner said he will find out when and where the classes are being held before the February meeting.
Councilman Wagner said Trigger Wall took a great interest in the young people in Manila.
"He went to the cotton fields to pick us up for games and practices," he said. "The last year I played baseball we played 86 games. He made sure we had uniforms and looked good when we went to play."
Councilman Davis said Trigger also shared with the young people of the area his love of horses.
"I was affiliated with him as a cowboy," Davis said. "I went on a lot of trail rides with him. He let us young boys have the opportunity to ride horses when we could. He was a mentor to all of us who wanted to be cowboys. He was a good influence on a lot of young men in this town."
Larry Miller, who lives across from the city park, was present at the meeting and expressed his appreciation to the council and was in agreement of the site they chose.
"I think it is an excellent spot," Miller said. "If it is connected near the golf course or the park, it is good for the kids. If there is anything I can do, I will be glad to help. I want to say it is too bad that Washington, D.C., can't work together like you gentlemen and ladies have done."
A dedication groundbreaking ceremony for the pool will be held in the spring.