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Committee seeking exact amount to build aquatic center

| November 1, 2005 11:00 PM

To the Editor:

Since the swimming pool ballot has come out, I've been asked a lot of questions about the project. Some I've been able to answer, some not, and some I feel pretty stupid that I never thought of.

First and foremost is the cost. We are asking taxpayers for $2.8 million to build the pool, period. Out of that money will come the final design which can be adjusted for construction costs at the time and reflect any additional community input. We are confident we will get this project built with the bond money we're asking. Though it would be helpful obviously, and we will be pursuing them, we are not counting on grants, donations, etc.

The maintenance money we're asking for along with the bond is a classic "chicken-egg" dilemma, because those figures can't be pegged until the facility is actually engineered and operational. Our research has convinced us we are in the ball park and right now the last thing we want is to be caught with our pants down and have to go back to the taxpayers. I don't anticipate this will happen, and contrary to several letters to the editor, there are not tax-happy schemes in the works. The ballot in front of you is what we'll get to build and run the pool for you and your family's health and enjoyment. Period, again.

As for the design we currently have on the table, there will be a 6-lane covered lap pool, a main outdoor pool and a play/splash area specifically for kids to cool off and have fun. One point I would like to stress is: this is not my pool, or our pool, this is everyone's pool living in the Libby Park District. The Libby Aquatic Center Inc. (which is basically a subcommittee of the LPD board, which are elected public positions) has tried to accommodate as many user groups as possible, from toddlers to seniors. From the input and direction we've been given, we think we're presenting the best swim facility we can for Libby.

I'd like to close with a few personal thoughts of my own. I'll be the first to admit this project ain't cheap. But pool supporters have made it loud and clear they want something more than the old Libby City Pool type facility. I've wrestled with this for several years (I'm a taxpayer, too) and I hope we've struck a balance of what we want as a community, and what we're willing to pay. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

If you have any more questions or comments, feel free to call me at 293-7205 or Jim Germany at 293-9269.

Tom Horelick

President,

Libby Aquatic Center Inc.