Last community meeting scheduled for Sept. 13
The Des Moines Pool Metropolitan Park District is making progress on its Aquatics Feasibility Study. The study has three components: public meetings, a community survey, and an analysis of size and site requirements for a facility, including the current location of the Mount Rainier Pool.
The last public meeting will be held Wednesday, September 13 at 6:30pm at the Des Moines Yacht Club. The public is invited and encouraged to attend to share what residents and pool users want by way of a community facility moving forward.
Those unable to attend a public meeting were encouraged to share their opinions as part of a community survey, the results of which have been tabulated. In summary, survey respondents would like to see aquatics, fitness and recreation opportunities in a facility to serve the greater Des Moines area. They also feel property taxes and user fees are appropriate to fund such a facility.
The first set of questions asked community members about the Mount Rainier Pool. Points of interest include:
- Only 6% rated the condition of pool as excellent, while 52% rated it as good. Forty percent (40%) rated it as fair and 2% said the facility was in poor condition. The pool is currently closed for maintenance and is scheduled to reopen on or before January 2018.
- Survey participants said free swim (59%), lap swimming (35%) swim lessons (31%) and water fitness classes (26%) are major reasons for using the Mount Rainier Pool.
- Of survey participants who have not used the pool in two years or more, 21% said they don’t swim for fitness, and 19% said the operating hours did not fit their schedules. The Park District recently hired an aquatics manager to provide additional hours and enhanced services for these activities and others when the pool reopens.
Survey participants next were asked about their vision for future aquatics, fitness and recreation spaces that the Park District could fund:
- Survey respondents also made clear that fitness went well beyond aquatics, which is a limitation of the current facility. Community members ranked weight rooms, cardio areas, an elevated running and walking track, and fitness rooms for classes as their top choices for non-aquatic fitness activities.
- Eighty-four percent (84%) of those surveyed said they would use such a community health facility, an increase from 62% of those who use just the pool.
A final set of questions asked survey participants about funding options to construct and operate such a new facility:
- Sixty-one percent (61%) said they were willing to consider additional property taxes to fund construction of a new facility. Thirty-one percent (31%) said they would not with 8% providing no response.
- Most respondents felt user fees should fund the facility, but 56% thought taxes should make up some component of funding.
Almost 300 surveys were returned. A copy of the survey or more details on the Aquatics Feasibility Study can be found on the Park District web site at www.mtrainierpool.com. The study is expected to be completed by the end of the year.