The decision will be up to voters of the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District in November, but members of the Seaside City Council asked critical questions Monday night of the $20 million bond plan to expand the aquatic facility at 1140 Broadway.
Staffing, tax impacts and who owns proposed land for parking were among questions posed after a presentation by Skyler Archibald, executive director of the district.
Councilor Randy Frank asked a series of questions about costs, staffing and parking. “You show a lot of parking area. Is that property currently owned (by the district)?”
Archibald said that ownership of land designated for future facility parking “was convoluted at best,” with land belonging to the Seaside School District, the city or the Recreation District. “That’s something we’re working through.”
“We’re close to this going to the ballot,” Frank said. “I would think at this point you’d really know what something costs or if you own it.”
The proposed expansion is intended to address a shortage of fitness facilities in the South County by improving current programs on existing land, adding 40,000-square-foot addition to the existing 13,000-square-foot aquatic building. Plans call for an indoor walking track, fitness areas, and classrooms for preschoolers.
Construction would begin in 2020 and construction completed in 2022, Archibald said.
Originally anticipated at $11 million when it was first proposed in 2012, construction costs have driven costs upward, Archibald said.
With a 20-year payoff period and an $18 million to $22 million expansion scenario, the tax impact to the owner of a $200,000 property would be about $140 per year. The impact for a $400,000 property would be about $280.
The bond will be decided by voters of the independent taxing district, who include most residents of the Seaside School District, excluding Cannon Beach and Gearhart.
Residents on fixed incomes took a “big hit” after 2016 passage of the $99.7 campus bond to move Seaside schools out of the tsunami zone, Councilor Steve Wright said. “What would you tell people in that situation?” he asked.
“My message to people to the community is, if we don’t make an investment in our health and into our community’s overall health, there will be some significant consequences for a lot of us,” Archibald said. “I think we have an opportunity now to have a really significant quality-of-life improvement for the community. I’m hoping we can find a way to make this work.”
Community forums on the expansion project will be offered by the Recreation District, with the next to be held Monday, Sept. 17, at the Bob Chisholm Community Center, at 5 p.m.
Additional forums will take place Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. and Oct. 29 at 5 p.m.