Shawnee Dispatch

West pool site chosen by Council

Governing body approves spending $1.5M on property

April 24, 2007

With the approach of summer, it appears the Shawnee City Council members have swimming on their minds.

The Council Monday approved entering into contract for the purchase of two properties along Woodland Drive with the intention of using the land for a western aquatic facility. It will mark the second time the city has attempted to purchase land for a pool, but city officials expect better results this time around.

After a nearly 40-minute executive session, Council member Kevin Straub made the motions to purchase two adjoining properties for the pool. The Council first authorized the mayor to execute a real estate agreement for the city to acquire 12 acres of property and a residence at 6103 Woodland Dr., at a price of $2.08 per square foot.

Ellis Rainey, assistant city attorney, said the exact square footage of the property was unknown, which is why the price was worded by square foot. City Manager Carol Gonzales estimated the cost to be approximately $1,087,000.

Straub then made a motion to authorize the mayor to execute a real estate agreement for the city to acquire 14.3 acres of property and a residence located at 6161 Woodland Dr. for $413,000.

Both motions were approved, though Council member Dan Pflumm voted in opposition to both, saying the properties' cost was above the appraiser's estimate.

"My own personal opinion is the price is more than the city of Shawnee should be paying," he said. "... I believe there's other pieces of property that we can look at."

Council member Dawn Kuhn said she was happy the city was finally setting aside land for the western aquatic facility the city has promised to build for years, though it may be some time before the city has the funds to build the facility.

The funds used to purchase the land were taken from the city's portion of the countywide sales tax for schools. Since about $950,000 will remain after the land is purchased, Kuhn suggested those funds be put toward reducing the amount bonded for the construction of the new Jim Allen Aquatic Center in order to reduce the city's overall debt.

In the past, the city has discussed the possibility of creating an indoor pool and community center for the western pool site, estimating the cost for such a facility at $16 million in 2005.

The city attempted to purchase land for a western pool in 2005 on the southeast corner of Johnson and Woodland drives. It entered into a contract to purchase the 34-acre property for $1.8 million in May of that year, but in October, the Council terminated the contract because it was found the site had formerly been used as a quarry and the soil could not support an in-ground pool.

On Tuesday, Neil Holman, parks and recreation director, said the current site has only been used as agricultural land, so no problems were anticipated with the soil quality.

Also on Monday, the Council approved a change order for an increase of $666 for the Jim Allen Aquatic Center, bringing the total contract amount to $4,681,597. They were happy to learn the pool was on schedule to open on Memorial Day.

In other business, the Council:

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