January 8, 2017 at 5:41 pm #8741ptorresbParticipant
From: Bill Rivers
Chair, Advocates for Alexandria Aquatics
I am reaching out to each of you because we are at a critical juncture for the proposed 50-meter pool at Chinquapin. As I told you in a previous message, in November 2016 Alexandria’s City Manager decided to stop the award of the design contract for the Chinquapin facility, citing the need to reevaluate the major capital projects being considered by the City.
This was a very disappointing and unfortunate decision by the City Manager. In May 2016 the City Council voted unanimously for $4.5 million to begin the design process of the 50-meter pool at Chinquapin. The City Manager himself signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AAA during the summer to keep the project moving forward. The City was just days away from awarding the contract to a well-known firm that specializes in the design of aquatics facilities. Yet, the City manager still put the process on hold.
At that time, I wrote to you asking you to contact the Council and the City Manager expressing your support for the new pool. The results were disappointing. The City Manager received 4 messages; one of the Council members got 11. At the same time, they also received over 200 messages about the TC Stadium project! The Manager is thinking that he made the right call because very few people objected to his decision to place a hold on the design contract for the Chinquapin facility.
If you care about the new pool, you must immediately write to both the Council and the City Manager.
We need at least 100 messages sent before we meet with the City Manager on January 18th. You are the most important ones that they will listen to.
Many thanks to those who already did send a message, but we need your fellow aquatic supporters to also send that message. I am asking each member on the AAA mailing list to send two messages (one to Council and one to the City Manager) and to ask 3 other friends or relatives to do the same. Pick out a reason from the list below and include it in your message.
We have included below the direct links to the email addresses through the Call, Click, and Connect mechanism used by the City to count messages.
Unless you send those messages, the future of the 50-meter pool at Chinquapin is very much in doubt. And, unless the City Manager quickly reverses his decision it will be virtually impossible to remain on the timeline that would have led to a completed pool in late 2018. Further delays in the design and construction of the facility will put its future in serious doubt.
Since November the board of AAA has engaged in several meetings with the City leadership, local reporters and community leaders to communicate why a new pool is a worthy investment by the community of Alexandria.
AAA also has been working with a local firm to determine the return on investment for the City that could be generated by a new 50-meter aquatics facility. It will indicate that a new aquatics facility creates ample opportunity for private sector sponsorship that, in turn, generates an ongoing and stable stream of revenue to the City beyond the traditional means of cost recovery used by the City – and reduces the need for tax dollars to support the operation of the pool.
Combined with previous studies commissioned by the City that showed the current aquatics infrastructure only meets 20 percent of Alexandria’s needs, the study being developed by AAA further demonstrates that there is both a need for a new facility and a unique opportunity for the City to tap into private sector revenue to help cover its construction and operational expenses. This could well serve as a model for use with other City facilities and reduce the demand for tax dollars.
In the coming weeks City Council and the City Manager will begin work on the 2018 budget. Therefore, time is of the essence. Send those messages! The City is facing a number of significant capital projects, and the 2018 budget will force the City to make some tough decisions on what is funded and what is not.
You can contact the Mayor and City Council and the City Manager by clicking on these links.You do not need to send a long message – simply tell City Council and the City Manager that you support the new pool at Chinquapin. You support:
· the need for all kids to learn how to swim (7,500 kids in Alexandria do not know how to swim and AAA has had conversations with ACPS to integrate swimming into the PE curriculum for all students);
· the need for Alexandria residents of all ages to have access to a pool for their activities;
· the need for the swim teams at our local schools to have a place to practice and hold home meets; and
· the need for more pool capacity when a City-sponsored study showed that only 20 percent of Alexandria’s aquatics needs are being met.
We will have various organizations reach out to the City Manager and City Council as well, but nothing says it better than private citizens sending their own message.
As always, thank you for your support.
Bill Rivers.January 8, 2017 at 5:45 pm #8742ptorresbParticipant
Here is my draft message, feel free to reuse:
Dear Mayor and City Council – I am contacting you to express my support for a 50 meter pool at Chinquapin. The current facilities are inadequate: the facility is simply too small for the citizen’s needs, from children learning the basic life skill of swimming, to adult aqua aerobics programs, to aqua-jogging, to masters swimming, to scuba diving lessons, to programs for the disabled, and more. As you can see, the entire Alexandria community will benefit from a new 50 meter pool facility. I am counting on your support to make this happen.
Alexandria residentMarch 9, 2017 at 8:14 am #10466moseredParticipant
The lates, re proposed 50-meter Chinquapin pool–
“We need you to swim to the rescue once again!
As I indicated to you in my message after the budget submission, we face yet another challenge to the new pool at Chinquapin. We are not part of the base budget for FY 2018, but we are in the supplemental Capital Improvement Plan for FY 2018. What that means is that we have to convince the City Council to move the pool money from the supplemental (or unfunded) area to the base (or funded) budget.
We had a very productive meeting with Council Member John Chapman last week. He thinks that there is a chance that Council will agree to move some projects from the supplemental list to the base budget. But he warned us that many projects would be competing for that status, so we need to redouble our efforts to convince Council of the need for the new pool.
Accordingly, Iâ€™m asking you once again to write to the Council members and to the City Manager expressing your support for the new pool. Youâ€™ve done a great job so far and we are getting closer to the end so please take the time to write that message â€“ even a short one is fine â€“ and tell the Council that the new pool is needed.
We are stressing the following points in our meetings with the Council members:
Â· This is the third time that the aquatics community has been shortchanged on this pool.
o In 1985, the City built the wrong size pool and no school in Alexandria has been able to host an official meet in over 30 years.
o In 2008, $25 million set aside for Chinquapin was taken because of the cost overrun on the TC Williams High School.
o And now in 2017, we have seen our approved funding once again disappear.
Â· 7,500 school kids will not have the opportunity to learn how to survive in the water without the pool space offered by the new pool.
Â· The pool would benefit a wide range of Alexandria residents from toddlers to octogenarians. It offers city-wide services, unlike other fitness facilities in the City.
There are plenty of other reasons for the new pool, but these three are a good start to any message that you want to send.
You did it once in getting over 100 messages sent to Council members. Please do it again for yourselves and future generations of Alexandrians.
Here are the links for your messages: You can contact the Mayor and City Council and the City Manager by clicking on these links.
Also, if you are available, please come to the public sessions of the City Council and speak on behalf of the Chinquapin pool.
Bill Rivers”March 29, 2017 at 9:23 pm #10922ShannonFParticipant
Done! We need more 50 M pools absolutely.