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Pool proposal unveiled

| June 22, 2005 12:00 AM

By ROGER MORRIS Western News Publisher

A $3.2 million pool proposal is being unveiled this week by a committee working under the Libby Parks District board of directors.

The committee used a $15,000 grant from the Libby Area Development Company to develop its plans for a combination indoor-outdoor pool facility to be built adjacent to the Cabinet Mountain Complex, which houses Libby City Hall and the Montana Athletic Club-Libby. Plans were developed by CTA Architects and Engioneers, who have also developed plans for the downtown revitalization.

The proposal will be decided via mail ballot by property owners in the Libby Parks District, which is the same as the Libby School District.The committee is proposing a fall ballot period.

"It's not just a pool, it's a water park," said Jim Germany, chairman of the committee.

The design calls for a water slide area, a splash pad-spray toy area, a main pool for general activity, a rehabilitation area and a lap pool. A glass structure with opening panels is proposed for the lap pool area for year-round use. The lap pool is a 25-meter pool with 6 lanes and will have a 75-foot by 100-foot enclosure.

"The overwhelming input is people didn't want a three-month pool," Germany said.

Also, the committee received that message from the Libby Parks District board.

"We went out and listened to every group in the county," Germany said.

Two big questions remaining are who will own and manage the pool, he said.

"To build it we have to go to the voters and tell them what we are proposing," Germany said.

That begins this week when the

committee has a booth at Logger Days with architect drawings available for the public to look over.

Germany said the cost, bonded over a 20-year period, does include annual maintenance costs of $200,000.

The proposal represents a tax increase of $123 a year on a property valued at $100,000.

"That comes to $10-$12 a month," Germany said.

"Use fees would have to be nominal because taxpayers are footing the bill," he continued. "Funding sources and deep pockets are not out there for a pool."

With the special district vote, 40 percent of the registered voters must participate in the mail-in ballot with a majority supporting the pool.

The Libby Parks District was formed more than a dozen years ago after a task force started working in 1986 to form a taxing district with the same boundaries as the Libby School District. Efforts to construct a Libby pool date back even further.

A proposal in 2001 estimated the cost of an outdoor pool at $1.4 million and a covered pool at $2.5 million.