Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

October 18, 2012

Pool project gets tourism lift

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — No life vest needed here as the planning for a future outdoor swimming facility in Pauls Valley has received a much more secure anchor when it comes to money.

The project appears to have taken a major step forward as four members of the Pauls Valley City Council voted earlier this week to commit a total of $100,000 in tourism related funds to the construction of the outdoor aquatic center.

Combining that action with a previous $3.2 million loan by the city of PV and private funds already raised it appears the project’s timetable won’t be impacted as the next phase of construction is expected to begin soon.

During the special meeting it was Councilman Hal Blevins who first made a motion to reject the idea of approving the six-figure funds from a local tourism tax for the pool project.

A second for the motion never came as instead Jocelyn Rushing moved to accept the measure. Rushing’s motion was seconded by Vice Mayor Billy Riddle and approved by a 4-1 vote as Blevins voted no.

The vote came after an open discussion that included plenty of input from pool committee member Brent Grimmett.

Grimmett told all five council members that much of the private funding needed for the project was already raised.

The importance there is it looks like all the features expected to be offered at the pool facility will remain with none having to be cut out to keep costs down.

Grimmett said it was his understanding around $300,000 to $400,000 in private money is needed to complete the funding for the project, which includes the council committing to a 20-year loan for $3.2 million. That total will pay for the bulk of the pool facility’s construction.

“We have $150,000 already committed to this right now,” Grimmett said about the private funds. “If you approve this $100,000 then we’ll be up to $250,000.

“I’m not worried about raising that money,” he said, referring to the remainder needed. “We’re going to make it happen.”

The planned pool facility, scheduled to be open by next summer, will be a part of operations at the local Reynolds Recreation Center.

If all the funding falls into place the features to be offered will include a large swimming pool, a lazy river ride, open and closed water slides, a bowl slide and a lap and dive pool.

According to Grimmett, it appeared early on as though the lap pool or another feature would be dropped as a way of cutting the cost and possibly adding them later.

“Early on we took out the lap pool,” Grimmett said. “I was adamant we keep it in. We’re going to need an attraction for adults as well as kids.

“You can’t add it later. It’s too expensive to add it later. You’ve got to do it now.”