After a lengthy process spanning nearly two years, the Cobre Valley Regional Aquatic Center committee narrowed site selection to two places and laid out the pros and cons of each for public comment Nov. 30.
During a presentation at Miami High School, Bryan Seppala, vice chair of the committee, along with Chair Evelyn Vargas and Secretary/Treasurer Sherry Dorathy outlined the findings.
Site A is 4.5 acres located at Hwy. 60 and Main. It is the partially graded hillside that is owned by the McSpaddens. Site B is the 18.5 acres owned by BHP Billiton located at Hwy. 60 and Russell Road, which abuts Miami Gardens. Both the McSpaddens and BHP have offered to donate the land for the purpose of an aquatic center.
According to Seppala, Site A would be just enough for an aquatic center and would involve a good deal of preparation, including bringing utilities under Hwy. 60 to the site. Site B offers more land, making it feasible to collaborate with others, such as the Boys & Girls Club and Copper Cities Youth Sports (CCYS). The latter site could potentially hold a community center and other amenities, such as ballparks, an amphitheater and a bike/walk trail.
To compare the two sites, the committee presented the same design with an aquatic center that includes lap pools, changing rooms, splash pad, etc., for both pieces of land. Site A came in at $7.9 million, while Site B came in at $7.7 million.
The initial budget for the aquatic center shows an annual income of $82,430 in fees and memberships, while operating costs come in at $486,592.
“There is not a facility of this kind in the country that operates in the black,” Vargas said. The committee is in the process of researching taxing districts, including what areas would be included and what the rate would be per property owner.
The next step is to make the decision between these two sites and then move forward with a comprehensive plan for the site selected.
Members of the committee are hoping to have the taxing district on the ballot in November 2017.