Council members approved a six-month memorandum of understanding during their regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 1, that allows city staff to negotiate with Surland about the development and operation of the center.
During the Sept. 20 meeting, the council approved a similar agreement to explore a public-private partnership to build a for-profit water park with theme park operator Wild Rivers Irvine LLC.
With both agreements in play, city staff will negotiate concurrently with Surland and Wild Rivers.
In a letter to the city dated and received on Sept. 17, Les Serpa, managing member of Surland, outlined the following conditions under which the company wants to negotiate:
n The swim center would be built on the swim center site identified in the Ellis Development Agreement.
n Surland would form a separate entity that would use roughly $4 million of funding the city has available and $10 million promised by Surland, along with any other funds that could be raised from grants, local developers or other sources to construct the swim center.
n The swim center would be designed to address the long-term needs of the Tracy community, including as many features from the conceptual design as possible and providing as many of the desired services as possible, given financial constraints.
n Surland would enlist the help of community groups and entities, such as USA Swim, to help operate and maintain the swim center once constructed.
The intent would be to provide the same level of service to the community as envisioned through years of conceptual design discussion and consensus approval.
n The swim center would be owned and operated by the entity established by the agreement.
n The city would be able to program swim lessons and other related activities through the agreement between Surland and the city.
Serpa briefly addressed council members on the topic during Tuesday’s meeting.
“We think this is something we can offer that will be helpful to the community and the city, as well,” he said. “We would just like to be able to have these discussions with (city) staff, and that’s all we are requesting.”
David Anderson, the president of the Tracy Airport Association, objected to the agreement based on safety concerns with the proposed 16-acre location of the aquatic center.
It’s zoned to be built in the departure and approach pathway of the airport’s main runway.
Anderson submitted several accident reports from similar-sized airports where planes crashed into residential areas near those airports.
“We support putting a swim center in — Tracy needs a swim center — but we don’t want it at the end of our runway,” he said. “It’s bad for everything.”
• Contact Joel Danoy at 830-4229 or firstname.lastname@example.org.