CITY COUNCIL MEETING
MONDAY JUNE 6, 2005
PRESENT: Mayor Carol Rudi
Mayor Pro Tem Bill Cross
Councilman Les Smith
Councilman Wayne Beer
Councilman Joe Evans
City Manager Kirk Davis
City Counselor David Ramsay
City Clerk Cathy Swenson
Mayor Carol Rudi opened the Special June 6, 2005, City Council Meeting at
7:00 PM in the
Item 3. on the Agenda. PRESENTATION AND PROPOSAL FOR A COMPETITIVE POOL AT THE NEW COMMUNITY/RECREATION CENTER.
City Manager Kirk Davis stated it was with a great deal of pleasure and excitement that he would like to present to Council members a very exciting proposal that would have a far reaching impact on our community, the North Kansas City School District, and the metropolitan area.
Mr. Davis continued by saying Staff is proposing to
partner with the
· It is centrally located within the District.
· The City already owns the land.
· The City is already preparing a bond issue to reconstruct several streets in the area and will utilize existing revenues.
Mr. Davis introduced Dave Schwartz, of Water’s Edge Aquatic Design, the City’s consultant on aquatic improvements, to discuss what the proposed facility will look like and the programming opportunities.
As a PowerPoint presentation was shown, Mr. Schwartz stated he would like to discuss the City’s potential facility, which is different from an outdoor pool where you discuss fun and features first. With an indoor facility, it is crucial to talk about the programming possibilities and the potential for income. Operating costs are sometimes a challenge with indoor facilities. Possibilities include swim team practice and swim team meets, which as City Manager Davis said, would take precedence, and this will be first and foremost a competitive facility. However, recreational activities would also be allowed.
Mr. Schwartz pointed out the various aspects of the proposed Community Center area, which includes a bathhouse, a modified outdoor pool, with a diving area, lap lanes, and a reconstructed shallow area. Mr. Schwartz explained that this design is under way. Mr. Schwartz pointed out that to the right of this facility would be the proposed Recreation/Community Center. A concept plan for the indoor pool facility is being discussed tonight. This will be a short course, eight-lane pool. There is room for the indoor pool and there is adequate parking.
Mr. Schwartz pointed out the indoor pool amenities, which would include eight 25 yard or meter lanes, with two 1 meter diving boards shown, but depths would be adequate for 3 meter diving boards in the future. Mr. Schwartz stated a key part of a competitive facility is the number of seats available to host a swim team meet. It is proposed that the facility would accommodate 1,800 to 2,500 seats. For a State meet, a minimum of 1,800 seats is necessary for a facility to be considered. It is also a good number of seats for other meets, as well. Mr. Schwartz pointed out that as a supplement there is shown spaces for coaches and officials meeting rooms, which are proposed to be under the seating areas, taking advantage of the building.
Mr. Schwartz stated that competition is not the only
programming being planned. Deep water
suitable for competition leaves out short children and some of the recreational
programs. A shallow water facility is
planned just to the right of the lap pool.
This also serves the swim team to a degree, because a cool down, warm up
pool facility adjacent to the main competition pool is a good idea. Three lanes are shown for this pool, but it
could be expanded to four, and it is planned to have a 0 depth entry, with a
ramp suitable for
Mr. Schwartz stated some of the details that would be
Mr. Schwartz reported the City would want to meet or exceed both United States Swimming Association (USA) and the National Federation of High School (NFHS) standards in an effort to compete for some of the swim meets. Twenty-five yard lane lengths would probably be recommended, but a long course has been discussed and is not out of the question. Whether it can fit the site and the budget are the two big questions. A minimum of seven-foot lane widths is necessary but seven foot, six inch to eight foot lanes are recommended. Lane depths of four-feet is the minimum, but Mr. Schwartz said he recommends five foot depths. Mr. Schwartz said he recommends buffer lanes. Different temperatures can be allowed with the two pools.
Mr. Schwartz stated the potential swim meets for the pool
include High School meets and invitational meets; USA swimming meets; perhaps
National Athletic Intercollegiate Association (NAIA) meets; Masters; and
Special Olympics. There are multiple
program possibilities from the competitive swimming perspective. Mr. Schwartz said there is a need for this
type of facility in the community and the greater
Mr. Schwartz continued by saying the building is important, and dehumidification is at the top of the list, followed by materials that resist corrosion; ventilation is crucial; and a vapor barrier is critical. Mr. Schwartz addressed the cost by saying it can be expected to cost between $200 per square foot to $250 per square foot for the indoor pool area. That is building and pool project costs, including design fees. The proposed building size is 27,850 square feet. The estimated total cost would be approximately $6 million. Operating cost is an ongoing concern, and an estimate for those costs would be approximately $300,000 per year. Mr. Schwartz stated this is just a first step to see if our community is interested and would support this project, and do we take this to the next step to create a detailed floor plan and a detailed cost analysis.
Mr. Schwartz reported his company has started the design process to renovate the City’s existing outdoor pool, and he was asked to provide some planning information for Council’s consideration this evening. Mr. Schwartz said his company’s qualifications include aquatic experience along with an engineering background, and the company is a resource for the entire community. Not only is design experience available, but also operations experience and CPO (Certified Pool Operator) certification experience to train the City’s operators. Water’s Edge Aquatic Design firm’s staff totals about 100 years of cumulative experience specific to pools, and has helped communities all over the nation with their facilities, and would be proud to continue to assist Gladstone. The firm is confident of their strong technical background in offering the knowledge to design a “fast pool”. Mr. Schwartz concluded by saying his company is made up of engineers and designers, and they team with other specialists in this business, such as Pete Malone, the Blazers coach; Bill Shalley, who operates the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is currently in Blue Springs; and Bruce Verink, a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) swim official who has participated in 42 NCAA swim meets.
· The City finance, build, and operate a facility in conjunction with the construction and operation of our new Community/Recreation Center.
The City would build a facility that would meet
School District standards, involve School District employees in the design, and
· The facility would be designed and built to meet all standards of the Missouri State High School Athletic Association, qualify to host local swim meets, State meets, and regional meets.
The facility would be managed by the City, with
no management fee assessed to the
· The City intends to seek proposals for the design of the Community/Recreation Center this fall, begin the design process immediately, begin construction next year, and open the facility in the fall of 2007.
The City staff has a great deal of aquatic
management experience. The City would
bond the entire project and ask the District to enter into a long-term lease
that would cover the portion of the debt service directly related to the
aquatic facility. The
· The City would partner with the District to market the facility for special events.
· The facility could be utilized by the District for their education curriculum at no additional cost.
Membership rates for District staff would be the
same as for
· School booster clubs could operate concessions for their respective events. The City would operate concessions for District-wide events, and regional/State events.
· Propose to the District that this is the single competitive facility in the District.
The cost of this project is approximately $6
million. Combined with the road
City Manager Davis stated that at this time, it is simply a proposal. The proposal has not been shared with the North Kansas City Board of Education, and unless the Council has further direction, Staff anticipates making a presentation to the School District Board on June 14th. Following that meeting, and given the schedule for seeking design services for the pool, Staff would anticipate the finalization of terms and the development of agreements that would allow us to move forward with this exciting opportunity.
Mr. Davis said it might be asked why we should do this. Prior to the Community/Recreation Center election in February, The Kansas City Star issued an editorial entitled “Good Plans for Gladstone”. It was their opinion that our citizen based strategic planning process was valid, that it reflected solid work by numerous citizens, and proposed a plan that would benefit our community. As mentioned earlier, this proposal will be consistent with several objectives developed by Gladstone on the Move – Citizens Making a Difference:
· The obvious objective is the continued development of a Community/Recreation Center. An aquatic component would enhance the programs and services that a Center can offer.
· Such a Center would create a hub or focus of activity. Gladstone on the Move was looking for a “central place”, a building or area with varied amenities for all facets of our community to use and enjoy year around.
· This facility would be an integral part of the City Center concept we are currently trying to develop. This would create a link with the downtown district for area residents, and encourage a concentration of retail, residential, and business investment into a City Center.
· Such a facility would generate interest from throughout the metro area and become a landmark for visitors. This facility will create a sense of identity and enhance the image of Gladstone and the North Kansas City School District.
· Gladstone on the Move was very aware of the impact a good school district has on the health of any community. Mr. Davis said he believes this proposal will enhance the facilities and image of our school district, and establish a strong community centered environment through this partnership.
· Another objective reflects the desire to work with the North Kansas City School District on mutually beneficial issues. This proposal and project is mutually beneficial.
· Gladstone on the Move wanted the City to work toward improving our partnerships with the District, and this project is consistent with that objective.
· Gladstone on the Move wanted the City to be a leader on regional issues. This proposal would reflect a unique partnership that addresses issues for both the School District and the City. It is an issue that furthers our standing as a leader in Clay County and will certainly draw attention to Gladstone throughout the metro and throughout the State.
City Manager Davis concluded by saying he would like to summarize the proposal as follows:
· Enter into a long-term lease that would allow the City to finance, construct, and operate a competitive swimming facility in partnership with the North Kansas City School District.
· Build a first class facility that would allow the partnership to market the facility for regional and statewide events.
· Give the School District a neutral, competitive facility that would be centrally located, and serve the entire District with no management costs.
· Provide School District employee membership benefits equal to the City employee membership benefit.
· Allow for a design and construction schedule and process that would begin immediately with a goal to open before the 2007/08 winter season.
· Give the School District another facility for curriculum programming.
· Involve the School District representatives in the design process.
· Give the citizens of our area additional recreation opportunities.
· Enhance the planned Community/Recreation facility.
· Provide an economic development tool.
· Comply with several community objectives.
· Do all of this for no additional taxes.
Councilman Wayne Beer stated the citizens of Gladstone did approve a tax that will design, construct, and operate a Community Center, at the request of Gladstone on the Move. The Community Center was a topic of significant discussion during the Gladstone on the Move sessions. The inclusion of a pool was also a big part of those discussions. It was determined at that time that the City was not likely to be able to pass a tax issue that would have included the pool, so the pool was recommended as a “phase in” operation for sometime in the future, where the City would go back to citizens with another tax proposal in order to construct a pool. Councilman Beer said he felt if that happened in his lifetime, he would be surprised. If this proposal is acceptable to the School District and to the City, and we are able to phase in a pool much more quickly than was thought could happen, and with no additional taxes, it would be phenomenal. Both the School District and the City would be beneficiaries of a wonderful thing.
Councilman Beer stated the idea that Gladstone would have the management of the pool is also something that is important to him. Gladstone has a management staff that has provided a pool for 27 years, and we are one of the few pools in the United States that does not operate by subsidy from the City. It operates on its own generated funds, which is remarkable. Our City has a proven management Staff. It makes sense that our City manages the pool, presuming the proposal takes place. Councilman Beer said he believed there is only one other pool in the state of Missouri that is comparable to the one being proposed, and that is on the St. Louis side of the state. The Missouri State High School Activity Association and its regional tournament contests take place in St. Louis. Other forms of athletics take place in St. Louis and Columbia, but nothing is happening on this side of the state. This proposal could change that. Councilman Beer said, as is evident from his remarks, he is in favor of this proposal.
Councilman Bill Cross inquired into the recommended temperature for competitive swimming.
Mr. Schwartz replied it is usually between 78 and 82 degrees, which is too cool for swim lessons.
Councilman Cross asked if seating capacity of at least 1,800 is recommended to be considered for State competition.
Mr. Schwartz confirmed that was correct, and is at the top of the list. The bleachers shown on the proposal were for 1,800+, but there is room for additional spaces for bleachers on the deck or over some of the mechanical spaces. There could be 2,500 seats.
Councilman Les Smith asked if this facility would be adequate to serve our entire population.
Mr. Schwartz replied any time an indoor pool is built, there is compromise. The swim team would love 50 meters, 10 lanes, 75 feet wide and so forth. Proponents of shallow water would love a lazy river, water slides, and so forth. That does not fit the site nor this project’s budget. This proposal is a good compromise that addresses both entities. It has good short course deep water for a swim team, and there is shallow water for younger people. Mr. Schwartz reminded Council this is a concept and there is room for some change.
Councilman Smith said he wanted to be sure that the City is building a facility that will serve our citizens, which on a daily basis would be more recreational than competitive. Councilman Smith asked if competitive swim people place a high premium on the warm up pool.
Mr. Schwartz replied yes, and they also like to use it for a cool down pool, which is crucial. Five lanes would be ideal for this size facility. The cool down/warm up pool lanes are not 25 yards long; but it serves the purpose, which is a compromise. The shallow water can be enlarged and once the program is set, and the dollars and operation is considered, it may grow a little bit.
Councilman Smith stated that it is his understanding that although the City would have some obligation to the ongoing operating costs, we already have funds earmarked, and it is his understanding that there would be no subsidy required of the City’s General Fund. Councilman Smith asked City Manager Davis if this is correct.
City Manager Davis agreed there would be no General Fund subsidy. The sales tax proposal that came forward through Gladstone on the Move allowed for the debt service on the Recreation/Community Center and a 20 percent subsidy within the revenue source generated by that sales tax. Relative to this facility, there is an opportunity to increase those revenues through additional memberships. The City conducted a feasibility study several years ago that indicated with a smaller facility, that 20 percent same subsidy came from a recreation only indoor component. With this combination, there is that opportunity plus whatever revenues may be generated from competitive meets and so forth.
Councilman Smith stated Mr. Davis mentioned that this would be the only competitive pool built by the School District, but he has seen recently in the press the location of the new high school with a site plan that includes a potential future aquatic center. Councilman Smith said he presumes that part of the City’s proposal to the School District is that this would be the only competitive pool to which the School District would be committed. Perhaps a practice facility by the new high school would be fine, but this proposal would be the only competitive pool.
City Manager Davis agreed that was correct, and said this proposal is for a competitive pool, and in City staff’s opinion this is the best location. Our City has a population that currently serves three high schools, and we do not believe it makes economic sense to build a competitive pool in our City and have a competitive pool built outside our City limits at another facility.
Councilman Smith said in looking at a map with the geographic locations of the high schools, with the exception of Oak Park High School, our proposed pool seems to be centrally located for the other high schools. It seems like a unique opportunity for the School District to be able to place a facility like this in the geographical center of the District as it relates to the three high schools. This seems like a unique opportunity for two public entities to work together for the betterment of the community. It is a “win-win” situation. Councilman Smith said hopefully the School District would look at it that way and he looks forward to the opportunity to be able to partner with the School District. Gladstone is somewhat unique in that we do not have a School District to call our own, yet many of our residents go to all three existing high schools. Councilman Smith encouraged Council to direct the City Manager to take this forward to the School District.
Councilman Joe Evans stated that it was mentioned the typical operating expenses would be in the $300,000 range, and asked how realistic are those figures.
Mr. Schwartz replied a spreadsheet was prepared just before tonight’s meeting, and some assumptions were made based on staffing and energy costs. It worked out to about $12 per hour per lane. He also researched what USA swimming says on their website, and they are saying $8 to $15 as an operating cost. Mr. Schwartz said the figure he used is in the middle and he feels good about that, and with the first class aquatic staff the City already has, they won’t make the cost go any higher.
Mayor Carol Rudi stated it was mentioned there were facilities similar to the one proposed in Topeka and she has heard there is one in St. Louis. Mayor Rudi asked where there are similar pools in the state of Missouri.
Mr. Schwartz replied the University of Missouri has a new 50-meter facility and St. Peter’s has a similar facility. Central High School has a 50-meter facility, which is used, but it has no seating, no coaches’ area, and so forth. It is a school pool. Lawrence and Topeka have indoor 50-meter pools. Marshalltown, Iowa has a short course 25-meter pool. The next deciding point, if the project moves forward, is what is the pool? His firm has provided an outline of what they think is appropriate as a beginning point for conversation.
Mayor Rudi said we have been talking about high school competitions. Could this pool be used for other types of competitions, such as a corporate challenge.
Mr. Schwartz replied yes, absolutely.
Mayor Rudi stated we need to be sure this is built to the required standards. There is a facility in Kansas City that was just a little short of what was needed for professional sports, and they lost that activity. We don’t want that to happen here. We have to really watch those standards.
Mr. Schwartz agreed.
Mayor Rudi asked City Manager Davis to review the schedule beginning from this point.
City Manager Davis said the proposal would be presented to the Gladstone Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday. The main step is to go to the School Board, if Council agrees to move forward. The School Board meeting is June 14, where the same proposal would be made asking them if they are interested and beginning discussions, followed by finalizing the agreement and all the documents following that. Mr. Davis said he does not have specific dates for the finalization of documents and things of that nature, but he believes if the School District is interested, we will move forward immediately with the idea that we can still continue to design the improvements that we have already scheduled – the outdoor pool improvements and the Recreation Center design. Mr. Davis said he does not want to lose sight of that time frame because of this proposal, so that is scheduled to move forward early this fall. We are still on that same time frame; we just have a little more work to do.
Councilman Smith said he believes it would be exciting to the School District that we could conceivably be open by the end of 2007, and he does not know what they could do to beat that time frame. Councilman Smith asked City Manager Davis if he has had any conversations with the folks from the Greater Kansas City Sports Commission to see what type of marketing opportunities there might be for this and what type of economic impact there might be.
Mr. Davis replied yes, he had lunch with Kevin Gray, the head of the Sports Commission, and he is extremely excited about a competitive pool of this nature and of this stature in the metropolitan area, especially on the Missouri side. We do not have any final agreements as to the economic impact, but those economic impact numbers could be fairly substantial. That depends on a lot of different factors. There have also been beginning discussions with the Chamber and folks involved in athletic event planning in the Kansas City metro area. Mr. Davis said he believes we would offer a great venue north of the river.
Councilman Beer stated one of the Gladstone on the Move major recommendations to City Council was a closer working relationship with the North Kansas City School District, and he believes a lot of people have seen the merit in that collaborative relationship. Councilman Beer said he sees this proposal as another way to foster and strengthen that relationship.
Item 4. on the Agenda. COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE.
Jodi Hilton, 7501 North Baltimore, stated she has been a Gladstone resident for 19 years, and she and her daughter use the Gladstone pool. Ms. Hilton said her daughter has been involved in the swim team for the last five years and is involved in a year around competitive team. Ms. Hilton said she works for the School District and has a big interest in this proposal and has always wanted to see this happen. It would be really positive for Gladstone to do something different and not what everyone else is doing. This is a great idea. Ms. Hilton said her daughter swims at Park Hill High School, and hopefully she will swim for Oak Park High School at a pool here. At the YMCA, there are sometimes 12 high school swimmers in a lane, which is too many to have an effective practice. Ms. Hilton said she and her daughter go to a lot of places for swim meets and are charged a facility fee for each swimmer. If there are 500 swimmers, at $5 each, that’s quite a bit. Ms. Hilton said this is a great opportunity for Gladstone, and she hopes we can move forward with this proposal.
Councilman Smith asked Ms. Hilton what time of day her daughter practices. He has heard some people say they practice as early as 4:30 AM to 5:00 AM.
Ms. Hilton replied she is not sure of the practice time for the high schools, but her daughter, who is 12 years old, swims at Park Hill High school from 5:00 AM to 6:30 AM every morning for her year around team. During the summer, she swims from 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM and does an afternoon practice.
Mayor Rudi asked that if anyone had suggestions about revenue and income, to be sure to share those ideas.
Jean Moore, 715 White Oak Lane, began by saying she co-chaired the Gladstone on the Move Campaign. Ms. Moore stated this proposal is an excellent opportunity to dovetail with a number of initiatives that Gladstone on the Move proposed. First and foremost it is an exciting opportunity to jump-start the partnership that we all hoped would happen, and be promoted between the City of Gladstone and the North Kansas City School District. It also enhances our own Community Center and gives our citizens additional recreational opportunities that would have been years away, as has been alluded to earlier. This proposal provides a boost to the development of the City Center concept that we are so excited about, and it promotes a very positive impact on the economic development for the City, as well as promoting our local economy. This is a “win-win” for the School District and for the City of Gladstone. Ms. Moore said she would strongly encourage Council to move ahead with this exciting initiative.
Don Horton, 3703 NE Shady Lane Drive, stated a number of people who were on the Gladstone of the Move committee were at this meeting, so obviously, there was a lot of interest with the committee regarding this proposal. At nearly every meeting something was heard about a pool, because at every meeting something was heard about a Community Center. The Committee began to realize this was not something that was going to happen right away and a lot of people were very frustrated by that. Mr. Horton stated that as the Committee began work on the campaign for the tax issue, he spoke at four or five different venues to encourage people to vote for the initiatives; three of the groups were Senior Citizen groups. In every single one of the groups, the overwhelming question was why can’t we have a pool. A lot of people will be delighted if they find out we can have a pool.
Beth Venard, 7509 North Euclid, began by saying she was a swimmer at Oak Park High School and practiced at the YMCA. There were four high schools there in a six-lane pool, and it was not a good thing. Ms. Venard said as head swim team coach of Gladstone this year, she does definitely agree with this proposal that would benefit the high schools and Gladstone, as well. Ms. Venard said there were State meets at St. Peter’s and it is a phenomenal facility, and we can get State meets here. Ms. Venard said she is “all for it”!
Councilman Beer asked how could that many people swim in a lane and get any kind of practice out of that.
Ms. Venard replied it was difficult. The swimmers are always on each other’s feet, and that is a problem. Ms. Venard stated the North Kansas City Community Center is now open to North Kansas City High School, and that has provided some relief to the YMCA, which is a very small facility.
Freddie Nichols, 5233 Old Pike Road, stated she comes to this meeting as a former North Kansas City School Board member. Ms. Nichols said the School District participated in partnerships in the past, so this is a possibility. Ms. Nichols reported when she was on the School Board, they partnered with North Kansas City for the track in North Kansas City, which was very successful. The School District has since partnered with the City of North Kansas City for the library. Partnerships are possible between cities and school districts. Ms. Nichols said she was a mother of several swimmers and divers who swam at the YMCA, where all three schools swam together very early in the morning. That lasted one year, because the State would not allow all three teams to practice together at the same time. Ms. Nichols said she believes rules have changed since then, but North Kansas City School District was without a swim team for many years, and it was summer swimming only. Ms. Nichols said as a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, she is very excited about this proposal.
Councilman Beer said the City of Gladstone has other partnerships with the School District, and they have always been very successful. The idea of tax supported partnerships forming whereby those entities can partner in such a way where they can get a better and more fully utilized use of facilities makes good sense from a tax payers perspective.
Ms. Nichols agreed and said the developmental program partnership has been wonderful and has taken the place of sports activities when the School District went from Freshmen being at junior high schools to senior high schools.
John Houlihan, 2313 NE 75 Terrace, stated he is the Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, but more importantly for this discussion, he served as the Chairman of the Civic/Community Center subcommittee for Gladstone on the Move. Mr. Houlihan said he echoes Mr. Horton’s comments that the Committee really wanted to put a pool in the Community Center package, but the financing did not allow for it. This is a great opportunity and would significantly enhance the Community Center, and a great partnership opportunity. Mr. Houlihan said we hit a “home run” at the February election; if we can pull this off, it will be a “grand slam”.
Dick Powers, 1600 NE 65 Street, began by saying he spent 20 years at Oak Park High School in various athletic capacities, with the last 12 years as Athletic Director/Activities Coordinator. Mr. Powers said he has just completed 12 years on the Gladstone Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, so he went through the procedure of putting together this Community Center concept and getting it passed. Mr. Powers stated that if one has not been in the position of an Athletic Director/Activities Coordinator, it is difficult to imagine how tough it is on coaches and athletic directors to attempt to schedule an athletic program where there is no facility. Mr. Powers said he faced this when girls’ athletics became an entity, and he had the dubious privilege of putting twice as many programs in the same number of gyms and facilities that were at Oak Park High School. Mr. Powers said he was one of the most unpopular people with the men coaches, because he was told by Title IX that it was his responsibility to see that the girls got “an even shake”, and the boys couldn’t believe they were entitled to that at that time. It has now been proven differently. Mr. Powers said he is totally elated by this proposal, and has a little interest in gambling and occasionally goes to the Boat (Casino), and the chances for this partnership to succeed are certainly better than the odds at any of the Boats in Kansas City.
Marcie Holwick, 6303 North Indiana, said that although she did not participate in the Gladstone on the Move Committee, she applauds the efforts of those people who did, because that was a wonderful effort. Ms. Holwick said she was a member of the North Kansas City School District Bond Levy Citizens Committee, and they were thrilled with the results of the bond/levy election. Ms. Holwick stated that when we talk about community, it is just not about the kids; it is what we get as parents, neighbors or others who associate with them in the community. One of the exciting things is that this could be an opportunity for mingling of different people. With a facility that doesn’t have a pool and doesn’t have a lot of athletic opportunities, that mingling is limited. However, it is possible; an example would be the Senior Citizen program operated by Gladstone. Perhaps more of this could be done to encourage more interaction between people in different walks of life and perhaps diverse in other ways as well.
Ann Blanco, 215 NW 53rd Terrace, stated she was present to speak for a group that has not been mentioned, which is the Senior Citizens. Ms. Blanco said for five years she has driven to Liberty to attend a water arthritis class. Ms. Blanco said she is in support of the high schools having the facility, but would like to know if there will be water aerobics and water arthritis classes at the new facility. Ms. Blanco inquired into the depth of the shallow pool, because if it is deep enough, that would be the ideal place for such classes. One of the speakers mentioned he had been at a Senior Citizen meeting. Ms. Blanco said she was at that meeting, and a lot of people at the meeting share her desire. A lot of people drive to Liberty, North Kansas City Hospital and the North Kansas City Community Center for water aerobic classes because it is very important to them.
Mayor Rudi stated questions would be addressed all at once later in the meeting.
Pete Hall, 5621 N. Clinton Place, stated he would like to speak about the economic aspect of this proposal, and how far it reaches beyond Gladstone. Gladstone has always been a good neighbor with Kansas City and other cities within the Northland. This proposal reaches out a lot further than our city. Gladstone does not have hotels and motels. This proposal will have an impact on that industry. The downtown plan is a wonderful plan, but retail and businesses need people, and this proposal allows that economic development issue to come in. It allows for businesses to be located where there are people. This is not seasonal but a year around pool. This proposal would be a tremendous economic benefit for the City of Gladstone and the Northland in general. Mr. Hall said he highly supports this concept. There is a lot of work to do, and some of the details cannot be solved tonight. Mr. Hall encouraged Council to be supportive in their vote.
Maria Levasy, 3502 NW 62 Terrace, stated she lives in Kansas City, but lived in Gladstone from the age of 10 years old to 23 years old. Ms. Levasy said she is the mother of a 14-year-old swimmer who has to be at the pool at 5:00 AM, and in the summer time at 6:00 AM to practice for two hours. They go to Park Hill High School for the winter practice and to the YMCA for the summer practice. Ms. Levasy said she drove three times to Topeka this weekend for a 50-meter pool, and paid $8 to the Kansas Turnpike. Ms. Levasy asked that consideration be made for a 50-meter pool with a bulkhead that can be moved back and forth, which would allow the use of the pool by three of the Northland clubs who are crowding into the YMCA, Park Hill, and Central High School. These clubs would bring revenue to the City year around.
Mark Tomes, 5812 N. Jackson Drive, introduced himself as the Chairman of the Board of the Gladstone Chamber of Commerce, and said his parents have resided at 1204 NE 69th Terrace since 1958. Mr. Tomes said he was not speaking for the Chamber at this meeting, because there has not yet been a meeting with the Chamber, but there is a meeting scheduled for Thursday. However, the Gladstone Area Chamber of Commerce is very pro-business in Gladstone, and is very excited about the opportunities that the Gladstone on the Move Committee has given to Gladstone to give our City more of an identity. Mr. Tomes said he goes back to the days when he would walk to Griff’s or Malt Village, and it is time to get into another playing field. Supporting and helping businesses is something to which this proposal would be a natural. Mr. Tomes said there are probably four entities in this “win-win” situation – the City of Gladstone, the North Kansas City School District, the citizens of Gladstone, and most importantly the children, who will be able to use this facility. It has already been said it is a “win-win” situation for the elderly and their special projects and for the children. Mr. Tomes said he is impressed with the motivation of the parents who take their children to swim practices at 5:00 AM, because it is important, and it cannot be done without the parents. This proposal would provide the North Kansas City School District with a central location, which is important.
Mr. Tomes said he is a graduate of Oak Park High School, and when he graduated, Oak Park High School was just a couple of years old. Oak Park students considered North Kansas City High School as the old place, and Oak Park students were the “cool” folks, because they had everything. This could be the perception if this type of pool were built by the new high school proposed to the north. The proposed pool would not belong to any one high school. It would be the North Kansas City School District aquatic center. This proposal is good for Gladstone, as we would be able to have a new pool in our lifetime. Mr. Tomes said when he was growing up and climbing trees, his mother said to stay close to the trunk of the tree, because that is the safest place to be. Mr. Tomes said he would always go out to the limb, because that is where the fruit is, and if you want the best fruit, sometimes you have to go out on the limb.
Donald Harper, 1606 NE 68 Terrace, said this proposal is very exciting, and being a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, he could not help but be very excited. Mr. Harper said he had one question, which is whether the number of parking spaces will be adequate with a seating capacity of 1,800. Although many people may come on busses, busses do take up a lot of space in the parking lot. If there should be a State swim meet, and someone wants to use the other side of the Community Center, there could be a lot of people using the facility and the same parking areas. Mr. Harper stated he does not believe there are enough parking spaces. In regard to marketing, Mr. Harper asked to what degree could the ordinary citizen utilize this proposed pool. We don’t want to lose sight of the thousands of people who voted for the Community Center, anticipating being able to use it. Mr. Harper said he is very excited about the proposal, but these are just a few cautions he would like to be considered. Mr. Harper stated he believes City Manager Davis has a very strong hand to present to the North Kansas City School District. We do not need to go with “hat in hand”, and we should certainly come out on top. Mr. Harper said as a Park Board member, he looks forward to the development of the pool.
Joe Parnacott, 106 NW 65 Terrace, stated he has been a Gladstone resident for the last 20 years, and has worked with City Manager Davis before on the development of the Hamilton Heights Park, and the residents are very happy with the park. The City did a great job with the park. Mr. Parnacott complimented City Council and City staff on the level of citizen involvement. This is a great opportunity for partnering with the School District, and a lot of good could come from this. Mr. Parnacott urged City Council members to take the necessary action for City Manager Davis to do his job.
Colin Levasy, 3502 NW 62 Terrace, said at the beginning of the swimming season, the pool where he swims was forced to turn people away because of the size of the pool. It is a six-lane pool that is not ventilated properly. It was inspected, and pool personnel were told not to change anything, but it is hard to breathe in that facility. Mr. Levasy said this pool will be great, because it will be ventilated properly, it will be able to hold a State swim meet, which will bring huge sums of money, and there will be competitions that will bring income. With the eight lanes, there will be quite a bit of space for swimmers. It will also accommodate activities for all ages. Fifty meter pools are good, but if it suits all ages, that is fine.
Ken Graham, 9704 NW Overhill Drive, Parkville, Missouri, stated he is sorry to say he does not live in Gladstone, and only wished to speak because he heard a couple of remarks about the YMCA pool. Mr. Graham said he would like to point out that they were the only facility that worked every high school into their program. They opened up the pool early in the morning, and they had the pool open in the afternoon. Mr. Graham pointed out there was a YMCA employee present at the meeting, who went out of her way to accommodate swimmers at the YMCA facility. Mr. Graham said he has been coaching for many years. From 1975 to 1979 he was a Pan American coach to the Pan American games. Mr. Graham said he moved to Missouri about one year ago, and was fascinated with the fact there were no pool facilities here. There are no lanes and no place for anyone to swim. Mr. Graham said he became a coach at North Kansas City High School and Winnetonka High School, under Bob Barth, who asked him to help out, which he did. Mr. Graham said they try to crowd about 40 kids into a 4-lane swimming pool approximately 50 to 55 minutes, five days per week. That did not work. Mr. Graham said what he has heard tonight is fantastic, and this is the first positive thing he has heard about swimming pools north of the river. Mr. Graham stated he has managed swimming pools, and coached all the way from Florida to California, and this is fantastic. There are other ways to make money from a swimming pool; there are private lessons and the Masters swimming program will always bring a lot of money to a pool. Mr. Graham said if Gladstone gets this pool, he promises to sell his house in Parkville and move to Gladstone.
Councilman Beer stated he hoped comments made at this meeting were not construed to be negatively directed towards the YMCA. Councilman Beer said he hopes what he is seeing is a change in the trends of athletics in this area. While the YMCA has done a commendable job of trying to cope with those changing trends, the fact is it is way beyond the capacity of the YMCA to handle with their existing facilities. Councilman Beer said he was a teacher at North Kansas City High School when North Kansas City swimming came into effect. It was a big thing in the School District to see that happening. The YMCA stepped up to the plate and did everything they could to facilitate the swim teams in the North Kansas City School District. If this proposal goes forward, it will help to relieve some of the stress on the existing facilities.
Lori Defarkus, 1205 NE 95 Terrace, stated she is the Aquatics Director at the Clay Platte YMCA. Ms. Defarkus stated there is no offense taken. The YMCA pool is not big enough. A 50-meter pool is needed along with cool down pool. That will accommodate everyone. There are children as young as 8 years old at the pool at 5:00 AM, and they are there until 8:00 PM.
Marilyn Shankland, 5412 North Wyandotte, said her daughter is a swimmer and a diver. They went to North Kansas City to practice after school and then drove to Independence to do the diving. Ms. Shankland said she believed the proposal is missing the diving component, and one-meter boards are not enough. Three more meter boards are needed. St. Louis hosted Olympic trials in diving this year, so there are regional and national events in United States Diving and AAU (Amateur Athletic) Diving. Ms. Shankland asked this be considered in the proposal.
Jeff Brough, 1901 NE 78 Street, said he does not live in Gladstone, but grew up here. In the mid-70’s he attended a City Council meeting where building a pool was discussed. There had never been a pool in Gladstone before, and a lot of money was needed to build the pool. They finally got it together, and he remembers someone saying this could not be done; it was a big thing to do. The City built what they have today. Mr. Brough said his daughter is a first day swimmer, and he told her he would take her to the pool at 7:00 AM, today, if she would get in the water. She did get in the water, and they are going again. The pool has been here 27 years, and it looks as good today or better than the day it was built. Mr. Brough asked that the pool be built to include physically challenged people and Senior Citizens, and encouraged Council to try to build as large a pool as possible, with as many amenities as possible, because it will cost more 15 or 20 years from now.
City Manager Davis stated he noted three questions. One question was regarding water aerobics, especially for Senior Citizens. Mr. Davis said he guaranteed that would be part of the programming. Mr. Davis said a second question was regarding the warm up pool. The reason the warm up pool is included is because included in the discussions was conversation to remember the recreation component to the competitive pool. We need to find a way to do both.
City Manager Davis said Mr. Schwartz did a good job with the financing available to address both issues. City staff will continue to try to make the best facility possible in conjunction with the School District. The issue of parking was a question. Parking has been considered around the facility. City staff has identified 1,000 parking spaces, not including neighborhood parking. For the big swim meet that might draw 2,000 to 2,500 people at a time, the City would probably need to use Antioch Bible Baptist Church parking areas, and shuttle people to the pool facility. Aside from that, 700 parking spaces have been identified within a block or so of the facility, not including facilities that may be potentially built as a result of this pool. Mr. Davis said City staff feels good about the parking. Most events will be handled with the parking being designed in Central Park, City Hall parking, and a couple of lots in the area that are typically used for Gladfest.
Item 5. on the Agenda. COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE CITY COUNCIL.
Councilman Les Smith stated there were two comments regarding the 3-meter diving boards, and there has been conversation about incorporating those if possible. Councilman Smith said some people might say why should there be sports for kids. When he was in school, you had to be involved in sports to be “cool”. Councilman Smith said he is the father to a 17-year-old Junior at North Kansas City High School, named Jennifer, and she is the best athlete in the family. All people who have children know that when the kids leave the house in the morning and go to school, it is the friends that really make a difference in their young lives. Councilman Smith said his daughter has made the best friends on her basketball team, her track team, and her volleyball team, that as a parent he could possibly hope for. There is discipline, responsibility, and camaraderie, and they have fun the way we all hope teenagers will. Councilman Smith said, there is an economic impact, and there is an advantage to the Community Center. The City is providing a gathering place for our community, which will complement and be part of the Civic Center, but we are also providing an opportunity for our high school kids and others to gather and compete and form friendships. Councilman Smith said he is glad we can provide this opportunity to the School District, on the other hand he hopes they are willing to partner with us and also provide our City the opportunity. That is where the “win-win” comes in.
Councilman Joe Evans stated, as with any development, there will be a couple of challenges that must be overcome; however, we have the voice of the Northland community here tonight heavily endorsing this natatorium. Councilman Evans said, as a Council member, he is very pleased with the proposal, and believes it will add a tremendous component to the Community Center, and he is all for it.
Councilman Wayne Beer had no comments at this time.
Mayor Pro Tem Bill Cross had no comments at this time.
Mayor Carol Rudi said it was great to see so many people so excited about this proposal. Mayor Rudi asked those in favor of the proposal to stand.
City Manager Davis said it appears to be an overwhelming endorsement from the audience.
Item 6. on the Agenda. COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE CITY MANAGER.
City Manager Kirk Davis thanked City Council members for their time and attention this evening on this issue. If Council members vote affirmatively on the next item on the agenda, this same proposal will be taken to the North Kansas City School Board on June 14th. City Manager Davis welcomed and thanked Representatives Jerry Nolte and Ryan Silvey for attending this meeting. The City enjoyed a good working relationship with them in Jefferson City and it is nice to see them support a City issue.
City Manager Davis reminded everyone that Friday and Saturday is the Bluesfest event in Oak Grove Park, 76th and North Troost. Mr. Davis said he hopes to see everyone there, and hopefully it won’t rain, and the City will put on another great festival with the Gladstone Area Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Davis reported that Deborah Daily, the City’s new Finance Director, would begin work on June 22nd. Ms. Daily comes to Gladstone from Manhattan, Kansas, as did Public Works Director Chuck Williams.
Item 7. on the Agenda. MOTION TO PRESENT TO THE NORTH KANSAS CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT A PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITY FOR A COMPETITIVE POOL FACILITY.
Mayor Pro Tem Bill Cross said it is his pleasure to move to present to the North Kansas City School District a partnership opportunity for a competitive pool facility. Councilman Les Smith seconded. The vote: All “aye” – Councilman Joe Evans, Councilman Wayne Beer, Councilman Les Smith, Mayor Pro Tem Bill Cross, Mayor Carol Rudi. (5-0)
Mayor Rudi stated City Manager Davis has his direction. Note: This was followed by applause from the audience.
Mayor Rudi stated there would be visitors’ comments allowed at the North Kansas City School Board meeting at 7:00 PM, on June 14th.
City Manager Davis stated the meeting will be at the Doolin Center at 2000 NE 46th Street.
Item 8. on the Agenda. OTHER BUSINESS.
There was no other business.
Item 9. on the Agenda. QUESTIONS FROM THE NEWS MEDIA.
There were no questions from the News Media.
Item 10. on the Agenda. ADJOURNMENT.
There being no further business to come before the June 6, 2005, Gladstone City Council Meeting, Mayor Carol Rudi adjourned the Regular Meeting.
Cathy Swenson, City Clerk
Approved as submitted: ___
Approved as corrected/amended: ___
Mayor Carol Rudi