Our Voice: Council treads swim park’s deep waters
by Press Editorial Board
Oct 05, 2012 | 5213 views | 11 11 comments | 256 256 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At one special meeting stretched over two days this week, City Council members considered the future of a possible aquatics center.

Credit the elected leaders with treading carefully — these are deep waters.

Even if a developer agreement with The Surland Cos., the company behind the Ellis residential project, provides a promised $10 million, the city will still have only an estimated $14 million, by our count, to build a park that’s supposed to have slides, a river, a spray area and at least one competition pool.

That’s far short of the $30 million or so a consultant in January 2011 said would be needed to construct the entire park.

It’s even short of the $15.7 million cost estimate given this week for the first phase alone — and swim park advocates should know that the planned first phase does not include a competition pool.

Furthermore, with all the bells and whistles envisioned, it will cost more than $800,000 a year to operate and maintain the first phase.

But that is only an estimate. The cost could be higher, especially as it didn’t appear that the consultant’s estimate included the police presence or private security that will undoubtedly be needed for a first phase that’s supposed to lure 78,000 people annually.

The consultant says the aquatics park will pay for its ongoing operation by charging between $6.75 and $10.75 per daily admission. When more features, such as a competition pool, are added, the consultant said, the cost could go up.

This is where the water gets deep and tough questions need to be answered.

Daily user fees pushing $10 could price some people out of a public amenity. But burdening the city’s general fund with maintaining an aquatics park is a nonstarter, considering that the city is fighting to end a six-year deficit and police officers and firefighters are being asked to make concessions.

And there’s another wave to ride. If management of the facility is taken over by a company — some council members asked to explore the possibility this week — the aquatics park becomes a private entertainment endeavor boosted by time and treasure that could have gone to address other needs.

Of course, that all assumes the proper plan remains the extravagant water park imagined by residents in workshops years ago — when we lived in a vastly different economy. Fiscal reality suggests swim park advocates need to revisit their expectations.

We’re happy the City Council listened to that call this week.

Before inertia carried the city farther into the deep end, elected city leaders acknowledged the obvious imperative to reconsider what is needed, what can be paid for and what type of facility would maintain its value to the community.

We live in a different economic world than when the swim park was first envisioned, and if estimates don’t pan out, there will be no extra money to bail out a sinking ship.

The last thing Tracy needs 20 years from now is a white elephant of a swim park with no one riding to the rescue.
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October 25, 2012

Finally got some free time ta waste here in th comment sections an ran across yer statement made on th 10th. Sorry I didn't catch it earlier.

Ya comment, "Chili Peppers...as Reagan would have said, "there you go again". Poppin' off when you don't know what you are talking about," yet apparently don't know who they are, what thair history is or what thair motives are an yet ya wish God's blessins on them.

Hey, wishin God's blessins on someone is a good thang an I do encourage that sort of thang but couched th way ya have written it, it seems ya condone some of thair lies an deceit they have promoted in thair historical past.

It doesn't bode well fer a person ta accuse someone else of "poppin' off" when it's glaringly apparent by yer own admission that ya yerself don't know much about what yer talkin about.

While RHCP skated around th issue I shall be more direct.

If you have been payin attention over th years yer gonna probably remember one Celeste Garamendi who ran fer Mayor some years back an was heavily supported by TRAQC and a lawyer who still practices in town by th name of Mark Connoley.

October 25, 2012
cont. to me-here

Up ta that time an even taday, most people were completely unaware of th family liaison between Celeste an her husband Mark an were apparently oblivious th thair attempts ta establish her legal residency in Tracy that was required fer her ta run fer th office, by obtain a residence in Tracy as a front while she continued ta live in thair mountain house south by southwest of town just south of Corral Hollow an LLL's Site 300 an adjacent ta th off road vehicle motor park called Carnegie.

If ya really followed th history of this pair of individuals ya just might form a different opinion of em an thair sincerity ta do best fer th Citizens of Tracy in stead of doin best fer themselves an thair bank accounts.

All ya really gotta do is go down ta examine th public records on these two in th county offices, somethang that they have tried ta expunge on more than one occasion.

Why th intentional subterfuge to have th public believe somethang that isn't?

Hey, believe what ya want, that's yer right, but shouldn't ya base that belief on historical facts an knowledge?
October 09, 2012
Is it true that the reason the Tracy Press does not report the actions of TRAQC, is they were paying the Tracy Press money?
October 09, 2012
That's th speculation of many. Is it true? Can't say but cartanly looks that way. Know Bob an Mark allegedly were High School buddies but don't know it ta be a fact.

But it seems strange how TRAQC can seeminly do no wrong in th eyes of TP. Can't say th same about TP since Sam stepped away frum TP's masthead.
October 10, 2012
Chili Peppers...as Reagan would have said, "there you go again". Poppin' off when you don't know what you are talking about. Whoever it is comprising TRAQC.. God Bless you guys...

October 10, 2012

Did she ever run for office?

Is it the same person who tried to shut down Carnegie Park on Corral Hollow road?

What part do you disagree with?

You believe they didn't pay the Tracy Press money?

People told me something, so what's wrong with asking, here? I do not see what Reagan has to do with it.

Do you even know who TRAQC is? Your comment indicates that you do not know.

I am not sure it is helpful, but if it makes you feel better, then thanks for the reply anyway.

If you have time maybe you could explain your feelings?
October 05, 2012
"The last thing Tracy needs 20 years from now is a white elephant of a swim park with no one riding to the rescue."

Frum th rate this thang is goin yer not gonna have ta worry about that 20 years frum now cus it still won't be built.

It's been about 2o years since first envisioned fer Dr. Powers park at a price tag much less than taday when th economy was boomin then. We can all see how fer that got.

Nice ta see that TP don't understand that monies fer thangs like police, fire an road repair don't allow it ta be spent on thangs like a pool an vice versa.

An its nice ta see that we live in a different economy too; one th City didn't cause but one that everyone in th nation is sufferin with. But I wonder why TP tells us what everyone already should know?

Were thair any doubts in anyone's minds that we don't live in a different economy taday? Could that possibly be one of th reasons th project has changed since its inception? Nah, no one apparently would have that much common sense.

Discussions are good thangs. Question is how long are these discussions gonna go on before some action takes place, another 20 years? Maybe th economy will be boomin by then but I doubt it.
October 06, 2012

It is time to take this dying dog of an idea out back and put a bullet in its head.
October 08, 2012
Since this was a pet project of Ives' years ago I'm sure he'll pursue it to be built since nobody is running against him for his last term as mayor.
October 09, 2012
grudges seem to occupy a majority of your waking hours.

Maybe write of something good that happened to you today.
October 09, 2012

An why shouldn't he? Can ya come up with good reasons why he should't other than yer opinion?

Yep I am not interested in opinion just facts.

So provide us th facts of why it shouldn't be built an who knows, if I agree with ya I might champion it fer ya.

An yes, I'll be checkin th facts ya provide ta make sure thair valid. Would ya want anyone ta do any differently when tryin ta convince ya on somethang else? Or do ya just take thair word fer it that it's true? Personally I don't thank ya'd be that dumb.

Good comment dcose, couldn't agree with ya more. Personal grudges don't have a place in an honest an logical discussion.

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