Portland Park Board will discuss its plans for a new pool at a meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in city council chambers at Portland Fire Station, 1616 N. Franklin St. The drawing above shows the proposed facility, which would include zero entry, a lazy river, dump bucket, slide and lap pool. (Graphic courtesy of HWC Engineering)<br /><br />
Portland Park Board will discuss its plans for a new pool at a meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in city council chambers at Portland Fire Station, 1616 N. Franklin St. The drawing above shows the proposed facility, which would include zero entry, a lazy river, dump bucket, slide and lap pool. (Graphic courtesy of HWC Engineering)

Portland Park Board is ready to take the next step toward building a new city pool.
The board will meet with HWC Engineering, the firm hired to draw up plans for a new Portland Pool, city council members and the public at 7 p.m. Tuesday to present what it wants a new pool facility to look like. The meeting will be in council chambers at Portland Fire Station, 1616 N. Franklin St.
The plan includes a lazy river, slide, dump bucket, lap pool and other fun features, park board president Rod Ashman said.
The estimated cost for a pool with those features (see graphic above) is $3.1 million. It is similar to a pool in Texas that was a favorite of the pool citizen advisory council.
That council, which was formed in early 2013 and spent most of the year researching a possible pool project, recommended in November building a new facility at the same site at an estimated cost of between $2.5 and $2.75 million.
Portland Pool, located at the south end of Hayes Street on the west side of Weiler-Wilson Park, was built in 1960. It has had a variety of structural problems and leaks an estimated 840,000 to 1.4 million gallons of water each year.
Portland City Council in February voted to hire HWC Engineering to work with a financial feasibility committee, made up of two members each from park board and city council, Mayor Randy Geesaman and other Portland residents, on plans for what a new pool facility could include and how much it may cost.
After park board discusses the plan Tuesday, members hope they can approve it and pass the financial aspect of a new pool onto city council, Ashman said.
“Everybody on park board wants a pool,” he said. “What we need to find out is how much money there is.
“I don’t think anybody really knows right now how much money the city has. There is private money available, but that won’t come until the city makes a contribution.”
In February, Geesaman said it was possible the city could contribute a maximum of $1.9 million to a pool project. But, he said he would not be able to give a definite figure until sometime this spring, in part because of the state legislature’s discussions about eliminating the business personal property tax.
In addition to the financial aspect, Ashman said the park board also wants to hear from the public about what it wants in a new facility.
“It’s something that we’d like to do, but what we want right now is input,” he said. “Now’s the time, if somebody wants to have input on this Tuesday night at the park board meeting is the time to come and say your peace.”
The board’s goal is to start building a new pool at the end of the 2014 season, but, Ashman said, that can’t happen until there’s money to pay for it.
“It’s up to us to pick whatever kind of pool we want and vote on it,” he added. “The city council is the financial end, and it’s up to us to present to them and try to sell it.”
The financial feasibility committee agreed if the city can contribute $2 million, fund raising for the rest would be possible, Ashman said.
“If they can do $2 million, we can build a pool. If it’s less than that, it’s going to be tough,” he said.
There were concerns that the current pool sits below the flood plain and building a new pool in that site would cost even more, but the engineering firm believes it won’t be necessary to add dirt in order to raise the ground level, Ashman said.
The current plans don’t include a concession area, though that’s something some residents have requested.
“Concessions are not a huge money-maker for us,” Ashman said. “So we thought there might be something portable there or there might be machines. That’s about all we do now anyhow.”
He’s hopeful that plans for a new pool can move forward Tuesday and that city council will be on board.
“This is a quality of life issue,” he said. “Our parks are nice now, we have great parks, I’m proud of our parks. This is an eye sore, and I think if we can fix this, boy, that really helps make the area more marketable.”