“I think four lanes is a joke,” he said.
The city has been without a public swimming pool since 2003, when the block was redeveloped for a joint project with Edison Elementary School.
The city’s pool design consultant, Larry Ryan of RJM Design Group, said the site could handily absorb a larger lap pool, but that the original budget constraint set by the council would have to be altered.
“It’s just a matter of working the budget,” he said.
In sending the design back, the council also instructed city officials to explore the possible use of park impact fees generated in the nearby San Fernando Road corridor redevelopment zone to offset additional costs.
The $5.4-million construction budget is made up of city, state and federal funds. Any additional capital, if not from park impact fees, would have to be cut from a reworked capital improvement budget priority list that took months to establish last year.
While budget constraints continued to weigh heavily into the new design instructions, some of the pool’s most ardent supporters pushed for as many concessions as possible given a general sense at City Hall that it could be many more years before there is enough capital to build another public pool, let alone an aquatic facility that could run past $25 million.
“If we don’t do it right . . . it’s going to be a huge mistake that we make up here,” Najarian said.
The City Council also agreed to explore incorporating solar systems atop shade structures and eliminating a shallow pool shelf to make room for more lap lanes.
The pushing and shoving on the dais over the scope of the project also extended to its projected $550,000 in annual operating costs, the liabilities of a spray-and-splash children’s area and its role in driving the revenue side of the pool through a nominal user fee of 50 cents to $3.