Courier Staff Writer
Voters in Fairfield will have an extra box to check on their ballot in two weeks, when they decide whether to approve a $3 million bond issue to support a new gymnasium and outdoor pool.
The $3 million in general obligation bonds would go toward the approximately $10 million it will take to build the two facilities.
The proposed pool in O.B. Nelson Park would replace the 45-year-old outdoor pool that had to close this year due to safety reasons, said Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy. The gymnasium would be built by the Roosevelt Recreation Center.
A citizen task force appointed by Malloy a year ago found that the community was demanding a new recreational facility.
“The way sports have grown over the decades to include more women’s sports, more diversity of athletic endeavors, we felt a facility was needed and the ... citizen task force determined that both projects were equally important to the community, so we thought we’d try to get support for both simultaneously,” Malloy said.
This referendum means around $7 million will need to be raised through private donations from the community, he said.
“I think the citizen task force working on that feels that the confidence of passing the ballot measure will lead to the ability to raise the rest of the funds,” Malloy said.
The first proposal was to put both the outdoor pool and the gymnasium in O.B. Nelson Park with shared locker rooms. They also looked at putting both facilities by the existing Roosevelt Recreation Center with the addition of new land.
“But I think the interest was in keeping the pool separate at the old location,” he said. “A lot of people really appreciated the park connected to that, and there is a limitation of space at Roosevelt.”
Malloy said separating the two facilities will help with the economics of operations for the gymnasium, since it will be connected to the Roosevelt Recreation Center, at 1000 W. Burlington Ave.
The Roosevelt Recreation Center houses a weight room, cardio equipment, toddler and children’s indoor playground, as well as an indoor aquatic center, which has a six-lane 25-yard pool, diving area, shallow end, whirlpool, dry-heat sauna, locker rooms and shower facilities.
The proposed gymnasium would feature three full-sized courts surrounded by a running track and bleachers for spectator events.
The proposed outdoor pool at O.B. Nelson Park would feature zero-depth entry, interactive play area, water play features, shaded sitting areas, water slide, swimming lanes, diving boards, concession stand, bathhouse and lawn space.
If the measure passes, Malloy said the task force will start fundraising immediately and continue through the winter, hopefully starting construction next year.
“It all depends on the success of the bond issue and private fundraising,” Malloy said.
The bond issue will be repaid by property tax, which would increase approximately $39 per year on a home valued at $100,000 (39 cents per $1,000 valuation over 20 years).
To see preliminary designs of what the outdoor pool and gymnasium will look like, visit www.fairfieldparksandrec.com.