Pool design offers ‘little bit for everyone’
After listening to its designer explain the many ways to get wet included in a design for the new municipal swimming pool, De Soto Mayor Dave Anderson voiced concern it wasn't within the $2.03 million budget.
"I'm amazed you got so much in here," he said. "Are you sure we can afford it?"
The answer, said Larkin Aquatics pool designer Treadwell Jones, was yes.
"I'm pretty sure we're not over budget," he said.
The committee that included Jones, Councilwoman Mitra Templin, City Administrator Greg Johnson, De Soto park board member Barry Thierer and residents Kay Speed and Leon Coker developed the design during meetings and discussions the last three months. That design was shared last Thursday with the City Council.
The design Jones presented was a series of six adjoining pools. The concept allowed somewhat segregated environments designed to appeal to specific age groups from toddlers to seniors, he said. Among the features included would be a toddler pool with a slide, a family area with slide, hydrotherapy benches for seniors, lap lanes, a vortex pool, a diving pool with a basketball goal, and a giant slide with a separate splash pool.
Jones said many of the features were designed to make the pool appealing to parents, enticing them to stay at the pool rather than using it as a babysitter. The key to that was to provide shaded areas and space where families could interact.
"There's a little bit of everything here, which is what we were shooting for," Jones said.
The vortex pool creates a whirlpool effect by injecting 600 gallons a minute in small circular pool, Jones said. It would provide another fun feature for children, but it would also provide an aerobic workout for adults walking against the current, he said.
Unlike the conceptual plan released before the bond referendum, the approved design separates the six lap lanes from the diving area. That was done so swimmers in both areas could better and more safely enjoy their activities, Jones said.
The diving area also included a basketball goal. Jones said goals were very popular features at newer pools and that demand could justify the addition of another goal in the future. It was also something that appealed to all ages, he said.
"That's what modern facilities are all about -- keeping you there more than 25 minutes," he said.
The same was true of the big water slide, which would empty into a small pool of its own. Jones said as a budgetary measure, the design only included one big slide. But he said its design would provide the plumbing and space for a second entwined slide to be added at a later date.
In what Jones admitted was a feature that wasn't typical of municipal swimming pools, vegetation boxes have been included near the toddler and family pools.
"We wanted to soften the edges and make it more inviting," he said. "The goal is to integrate it with the landscape -- to give it an organic look, as if it grew out of the ground."
In the only real objection to the design, Councilman Emil Urbanek questioned the placement of the concession stand and locker rooms between the pool and the Community Center. It had been suggested there would be an unobstructed view of the pool from the Community Center, which would help show off the facility, he said.
Templin and Jones said the committee looked at several options for locating the concession stand and showers. The area selected made the most sense, they said, in part because it left room for future expansion of the pool and for the shelter the park board wanted to build behind the Community Center.
Asked if that satisfied his concerns, Urbanek said he understood, "but I still don't like it." Placing the structures west of the pool would encourage users to park in the parking lot to be built west of the Community Center, he said.
Parking would be a concern because of the multiple uses at the Community Center, Jones said. The redesign of the parking lot south of the Community Center and the layout of sidewalks would encourage the use of the new parking lot, Jones said.
The city must obtain a special use permit for the pool and secure approval of a site plan. The permit is to be considered by the Site Plan Review Committee and Planning Commission next month and the Council in December. The plat is scheduled to be presented to the Planning Commission in December and the County the following month.