BY RAYMOND MENDOZA
Walnut – After numerous promises during the reelection campaign from council members Mary Su and Bob Pacheco, plans for an aquatic center are starting to come together in the earliest stages of development.
In addition to Pacheco and Su, council member Tony Cartagena also expressed support for the construction of an aquatic center and with a high amount of public interest. $250,000 has been allocated from the 2014/2015 fiscal budget to go toward schematics, testing, and advanced studies in order to make the aquatic center a reality.
However, even with $250,000 being set aside by the City during the first month of its new fiscal year, they are approaching the construction with caution. According to Community Services Director Mary Rooney, the City is just now starting to assess many different aspects of the aquatic center’s construction. Plans are so new that Rooney mentioned that the location, cost, and specifics are preliminary and that everything is up for consideration.
“There are various preliminary plans that have to go in place before we can actually design and build anything,” Rooney said.
To date, the City has met in closed session to discuss the possible locations for the aquatic center while Rooney mentioned that they have only spent an estimated $22,500 of the $250,000 on professionally drawn schematics from Aquatic Design Group.
The total cost of construction for the aquatic center is being considered, however Rooney mentioned that certain council actions, including the July 23 decision to sell a tract of land near Amar Road, are possible ways to fund the creation of the center.
With funding and nearly all of the aquatics center’s plans still under consideration, Rooney wanted to make sure that residents understand that the City is still pushing forward with its plans and that one way or another, the aquatic center will be built.
“We are moving on this,” Rooney said.
Rooney said that with the help of a Parks and Recreation sub-committee, plans will continue to unfold as the year goes on.
Claudine Stines, a Walnut resident who has long been a proponent of this project says, “It’s hard to imagine what started as a swimming pool for Walnut, has now expanded to the possibility of two pools (a competitive and recreational pool). Who knows? The concept could even include a performing arts amphitheater, a series of nature trails, and family-friendly open parks with additional parking…”
Stines also encourages residents to let their voices be heard by visiting her website at http://chn.ge/1e1ewyp, where comments are shared with members of the Walnut City Council.