The Prairie Village City Council is discussing spending as much as $44 million on a community and aquatic center based on a feasibility study members heard this week.
The study, part of a long-range parks master plan, addresses both a community center and a replacement option for the city’s 50-meter outdoor pool. The pool’s life cycle and replacement cost is scheduled to be studied this year.
The feasibility study from the 360 Architecture Design Team was overseen by a community center committee formed in 2010. The committee is comprised of the mayor, council members, the parks and recreation committee, residents and representatives of both the Shawnee Mission School District and Johnson County Park and Recreation District.
The study includes a market analysis and results of a citizen survey completed by 376 residents. Citizens indicated that four areas would be regularly used if incorporated into the project next to the current municipal pool: a weight room/cardiovascular equipment area; an indoor running and walking track; space for aerobics, fitness, dance, yoga and Pilates; and an indoor aquatic center.
Three options are included in the study. The largest is a 136,000-square-foot facility featuring an indoor 50-meter pool with 1,500 spectator seats as well as workout space, an indoor running track, leisure aquatics, a two-court gym and multipurpose space at a cost of $43.9 million.
A second option would include similar features, but would have a smaller pool measuring 25 yards by 25 meters pool. The cost would be $41.9 million.
The third option is for a 20,000-square-foot activity center with workout and meeting space but no indoor pool. The cost would be $5.1 million.
The city’s Parks and Recreation committee agreed Jan. 9 to recommend that the city pursue the most expensive of three options. However, Councilwoman Ashley Weaver said on Tuesday that the committee had serious concerns regarding the project cost and required operational subsidies.
In addition, Weaver said committee members were concerned that the primary economic development benefit would be to cities outside Prairie Village because visitors to the aquatic center would stay at hotels and use entertainment venues and restaurants mostly in other cities.
The committee said the city would need to partner with Johnson County Parks and Recreation and the school district to help mitigate the taxpayer costs. Financing construction of a $45 million facility would require an 8 mill increase, or about an additional $200 annually for the average Prairie Village homeowner, as well as implementation of a sales tax.
Several council members proposed charging higher non-resident fees and out-of-state fees for Missouri residents to help offset operational costs.