BY RAYMOND MENDOZA
Walnut – City officials met with a representative from the Aquatic Design Group on Wed., Oct. 8 for a study session event, outlining the schematic plans for the City’s proposed Aquatic Center and Amphitheater.
The Aquatic Center, planned for the 20000 block of Amar Road off Alta Sierra Road near Walnut Ranch Park, has been a long-time desire for some residents who have called for a municipal pool site in Walnut for years.
More than ten residents attended the meeting, where Aquatic Design Group Vice President, Justin Caron, outlined various ideas for what the park could host, including slides, three pools, a water spray park, locker rooms, an amphitheater, reception areas and more. Furthermore, the plan outlined 333 parking spaces to ensure space for the lots even when the pools, park and amphitheater are in use.
Mary Rooney, Community Services Director, said the flexibility of the slides and splash areas would be ideal for Walnut’s weather, with easy maintenance, fast ways to drain the excess amenities during the winter months, and the ability to refill and staff the slides and splash areas if a heat wave hits the City.
Rooney said that while the entire basis of the study session was to show a rough idea of what the park would look like, the plan’s outline is a good enough to show the public and City Council for further deliberation.
“Now you have a concept,” Rooney said. “Now you have something to walk with to show your constituents…nothing is set in stone, but we would like your feedback.”
Caron said the total estimated cost for the entire project would cost the City $19.9 million, with a breakdown of $3.6 million for site work, $532,000 for utilities, $3.8 million for construction of buildings, $600,000 for the amphitheater, $4.7 million for the pools, and an estimated $6.7 million for contractors, insurance, bonds and construction contingencies.
When pressed by councilmember Eric Ching, Caron suggested an estimated general admission fee of $5 to $7 for adult, with the possibility of cheaper rates for Walnut residents and higher fees for non-residents. However, he mentioned that the City can choose to set admission prices at whatever they wanted when the project reached its completion.
Councilmember, Tony Cartagena, said he was “very excited” at the thought of the City’s plans coming to fruition, stating that the planned amenities are extensive and impressive.
Attendees were mostly optimistic about the project, yet most of the hesitance from residents centered on parking and traffic studies.
Walnut resident, Claudine Stines, said she has been a supporter for the Aquatic Center for years, but that the latest schematics might not have sufficient parking for all the proposed features.
Walnut resident, Gary Gidcumb, said that while he liked the idea of Walnut having a recreational pool, he would like to see a traffic study done for the area to ensure a safe traffic flow. Gidcumb described the schematic plans as “too much,” and that if the City scaled back some of its ideas, it would be more likely to complete its long-time project.
“I’d like to see a pool in Walnut,” Gidcumb said. “Hopefully, before I’m 100 years old.”