Friday, January 23, 2009
BY EVONNE COUTROS
RIDGEWOOD — The Village Council will decide next week whether to move ahead with architectural plans for a proposed $13.9 million aquatic center that includes four pools, water slides, expanded locker and concession facilities, and a playground.
The plan would replace the sand-bottom Graydon Pool on Linwood and North Maple avenues and follows two years of meetings, tours of aquatic facilities, pool chat sessions, studies and surveys.
Village Manager James Ten Hoeve has concerns about the plan, which would rely on membership fees for funding.
“The point is to make an in-ground state-of-the-art facility which, based on information, should attract membership,” Ten Hoeve said. “The key, the absolute key to this whole thing working, is membership. They need members.”
Economic times are a worry, Ten Hoeve said. “What makes me nervous is the state of the economy, people losing jobs, or not being given their job bonuses,” he said.
The facility as presented would include a toddler pool, leisure pool with two slides and bench seating, a dive well with one- and two-meter boards, and an 8-lane, 25-yard lap pool with starting blocks.
There would be new landscaping, a sand play area, a renovated and expanded concession area, and new locker rooms with showers.
The pool would be open to non-residents who would pay a higher rate than the annual $150 per person fee and the maximum fee cap of $750 per year set for a resident family, Ten Hoeve said.
Non-residents would be permitted to join if the 8,000 membership level is not reached through resident memberships.
That’s where Ten Hoeve said he has concerns for the village.
“I don’t know how to measure will people pay $750 for their family versus going to Long Beach Island for a week,” Ten Hoeve said. “The projection is they will have 8,000 members within three years of its opening.
The village would issue a bond for the cost of construction and design over 25 years. Ten Hoeve said it could have a 30-year life because the project qualifies under the local bond.
The facility could open in 2011 and would be self-funded with membership fees picking up the debt.
The dollar figures are based on 5,000 residents joining the new aquatic center, but Ten Hoeve said the village has to rely on the Graydon Pool Advisory Committee consultants’ projection of membership.
Current membership at the sand-bottom Graydon Pool is around 3,900, Ten Hoeve said.