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Family-friendly pool park planned in Avon

  • Who will operate the pool?


    AVON -- Now that the city has plans to open a municipal aquatic facility in 2015, city officials are envisioning what the 7½ acres of woodland adjacent to the facility will be.

    During previous city meetings, it has been suggested the land will be transformed into a park with walking trails and a potential amphitheater for outdoor music.

    Mayor Bryan Jensen said the city wants the entire area around the future Avon Municipal Aquatic facility to serve families.

    "We're working with the (Lorain County) Metro Parks to see how we can partner and maybe put a quarter-mile pathway through the woods that have never been timbered," Jensen said.

    City officials want those using the park to get just as much of a history lesson as they do fresh air.

    "We've talked about making it a history walk," Jensen said during a telephone interview. "We would like to have little plaques along the trail with a history of the city. We'd like to see a walk that includes a step-by-step history of Avon."

    Jensen said members of the Avon Historical Society are gathering historical photos and data to create a timeline to determine how many plaques are needed for a quarter-mile path.

    Taylor "Jack" Smith, a lifelong city resident, historian and publicity chairman of the Avon Historical Society, said a history walk would fit nicely with the proposed park's purpose.

    "It's going to be a static park," Smith said during a telephone interview. "In other words, there won't be any soccer games or sports. People enjoying the pool can also take a walk around and enjoy the surroundings."

    "In 2000, we had around 10,000 people in the city and in 2010 we had over 20,000," Smith said. "Many of the newer people in town, understandably, wouldn't know too much about Avon. This would be a way to enjoy a nice walk and learn a few things at the same time."

    Jensen said City Hall will eventually move to the same area, but none of the park land will be used for the future site.

    "City Hall will be closer to the police station," Jensen said. "But that's still years away. I'd like to get the pool up and recreational area first before we concentrate on City Hall."

    Contact Jon Wysochanski at jwysochanski@chroniclet.com.



    Illustrated TimeLine of Dr. Norton S. Townshend

    for an example of the displays to be installed along the Avon History Walk. This sample display is being placed at the Gazebo in Heritage Square, south-west corner of Detroit and Stoney Ridge. as part of Avon's 2014 Bicentennial celebration. The Dr. Norton S. Townshend Historical Marker is already at Heritage Square on Detroit Road.



    Avon Council passes pool plan

    Filed on February 25, 2014 by Chelsea Miller

    AVON -- Plans to build a community pool and park will move forward after City Council approved plans for the facility during a City Council meeting Monday night.

    The community pool and recreation area will be on 17 acres of land behind the post office at 36225 Detroit Road. The property, once owned by the Peak family, was purchased by the city in 2010 for future use. Plans to build a community pool have been in the works since a 2008 survey of residents by the Parks and Recreation Department indicated that a swimming pool was important to the majority of residents.

    The city has entered into an agreement with Sixmo Inc. to perform the architectural and engineering design services for the facility. The contract with Sixmo, which calls for a $4.5 million construction budget, was approved Monday by Council.

    Sixmo will begin the first stage of development to design the outdoor aquatic facility. Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen said once funding is secured there may be plans to construct a recreational park facility, which includes a walking trail.

    Plans for the pool section include a competitive pool with eight 50-meter lanes for swimming laps, a recreational pool with water slides, a small splash pool for young children and a lazy river.

    The pools' proximity to the fire station, police station and a future City Hall influenced the decision to locate the facility south of Detroit Road. Along with the building plans, engineers have plans to buffer noise with trees.

    The construction will be funded by the recreation income tax and borrowing money, which will be paid off in five to seven years, according to Jensen. Operational costs may be offset by membership fees, but Jensen said the city is looking at a number of options.

    Contact Chelsea Miller at cmiller@chroniclet.com.



    Council approves special use permit, engineering contract for aquatic facility

    Filed by rturman February 27th, 2014 in News.

    By Rebecca Turman

    AVON -- The city of Avon's plans to build an aquatic facility on city-owned property located south of the Avon Post Office on Detroit Road are moving forward.

    With Avon Planning Commission's recommendation, City Council approved an ordinance granting a special use permit for the facility to be located on the close to 20 acres that are currently zoned single-family residential use.

    Council also approved an ordinance authorizing Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen to enter into an agreement with Sixmo Engineering for the design of the aquatic facility.

    Sixmo will design the aquatic facility as well as storm, sanitary, water and roadway improvements on the property, according to the ordinance approved by council, and will be paid $253,800 as part of the agreement.

    Not much discussion was held on the aquatic facility during the Monday night City Council meetings; however, residents were given the opportunity to speak about their concerns during the Feb. 19 planning commission meeting and public hearing for the special use permit.

    During the public hearing, Avon planning coordinator Jim Piazza said there would be a heavy row of buffering trees on the west side of the entrance to the aquatic facility, which would be at the continuation of Healthway Drive.

    Piazza also said a buffer of pine trees would be provided along the houses on Holly Lane that border the property to the west.

    On the south portion of the city-owned property, Piazza said the heavily wooded area will remain untouched. Per city law, Piazza said the buffer must provide 80 percent opacity in the summer and 60 percent in the winter, noting pine trees provide 80 percent opacity year-round.

    In terms of lighting in the area, Piazza said city law limits it to 24-foot poles in a shoebox fixture so that the bulbs aren't visible.

    Piazza said "nonobtrusive" security lighting is to be expected at night.

    Bud Misencik, a Holly Lane resident, asked how loud he and his neighbors could expect an audio system at the facility to be.

    "Those issues will be addressed in full detail once the project moves along," Piazza said. "We are trying to protect the residential area. The buffering, we will work with you on."

    Another Holly Lane resident voiced her concerns about the aquatic facility.

    "My concern is not so much the pool," she said. "It's keeping people out of my yard."

    Since her yard borders the proposed aquatic facility area, she said she's worried the neighbors will use her yard as a cut-through.

    During the meeting, Mike Bramhall of Bramhall Engineering and Surveying Co., who is working with Sixmo on the project, said he would meet with homeowners to address their concerns, including buffers.

    In terms of reaching the facility by sidewalk, Avon city engineer Rob Knopf said sidewalks will be installed on the west side of SR 83 to start, with walkway access provided into the facility from SR 83.

    Phase two of the project might include an access road from SR 83 into the aquatic facility, but it's not part of phase one, Knopf said.

    Along with a special use permit, planning commission approved the site plan for the aquatic facility at the Feb. 19 meeting.

    Included in the site plan was a proposed facility plan, which shows a 4,900-square-foot competitive pool, a 3,000-square-foot recreational pool with water slides and zero-depth entry, a 300-linear-foot lazy river with zero-depth entry, a 1,000-square-foot sprayground, concessions and a 3,000-square-foot bathhouse, all on approximately 2.57 acres of land.

    The site plan is set with planning commission approval, Piazza said, but where the pool features are placed on the property can be modified.

    At the Feb. 24 City Council meeting, Avon finance Director Bill Logan noted that the estimate for the aquatic facility is between $4.5 million and $5 million, which the city hopes to pay off within five to seven years, using income tax revenues from the parks and recreation tax. Logan said that estimate doesn't include roadway improvements.

    With the planning commission and council on board to move forward with the project, Jensen said a committee made up of residents and council members will be put together in the upcoming weeks. Those interested in joining the committee can contact the mayor's office at 440-937-7805.

    Contact Rebecca Turman at rturman@2presspapers.com



    Avon opens bidding on aquatic facility

    Filed by Shane Rogers July 23rd, 2014 in News.

    Plans for the city of Avon "Municipal Aquatic Facility" are moving forward according to schedule as City Council approved the advertisement of bids for the site package during its only regularly scheduled meeting for the month of July.

    According to the resolution, the first phase of the construction project will "consist of 410 linear feet of roadway extension south of the intersection of Detroit Road and Healthway Drive, together with the extension of storm sewers, drainage improvements, storm water management facilities, sanitary sewers, waterline, electrical distributions, communication conduits, traffic signal modifications at Detroit Road and Healthway Drive, pavement markings, mass earth grading, parking lot facility, permeable pavers, roadway lighting, modification of the United States Post Office entrance, landscaping, mounding, asphalt paths, concrete walks and lawn restoration."

    Patrick Thorton of Sixmo Inc., the Rocky River-based architectural firm in the lead on construction plans for the facility, said he expects the first phase of construction, the "site improvements," to cost around $2.68 million. Phase one will account for nearly 37 percent of the total construction costs of $7.34 million for the facility. As the bidding moves forward, council has the authority to reject any and all bids that may come through regarding the plans.

    Thorton and Sixmo Inc. want to move on to the next stage of construction of the pool and have council pass a resolution to advertise bids for the construction of the pool and facilities associated with it by the time of council's sole meeting in August. This would, hopefully, allow site construction to begin early in September. This phase is expected to cost approximately $2.46 million for pool construction and $1.1 million for building construction. Approximately $1 million has been allotted for construction contingencies, fees, permits, inspections, etc.

    The long-sought pool is starting to become a reality for the residents of Avon. If all goes according to plan, the construction of the pool -- which will include a separate competitive eight-lane swimming pool, lazy river, water slide and children's area -- should be complete by the end of May 2015. Thorton and the city hope to be able to open the facility to the general public on Memorial Day of 2015.

    Contact Shane Rogers at srogers@2presspapers.com

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    Avon officials seek experts in logistics of running pool

    Filed on August 2, 2014 by Jon Wysochanski

    AVON -- It's no secret how the future Avon Municipal Aquatic Facility will look.

    Over the past several weeks, city officials and Rocky River-based architectural and engineering firm Sixmo, Inc., have described a facility that will includes a 50-meter, eight-lane competitive pool and separate recreation pool with two 35-foot water slides and water park-style features.

    But who will operate it?

    The city's Parks and Recreation Department does not have the required skills to treat the water, run the pumping stations and maintain an aquatic facility or the manpower to deliver programs, operate concessions and man lifeguard stations.

    According to Avon Parks and Recreation Director Diane Corrao, the city is seeking operational answers.

    "Most likely there will be an outside party running the pool the first year or two, or maybe even three, we don't know yet," Corrao said.

    Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen said the city considered an approximate $280,000 plan with St. Louis-based aquatics company Counsilman-Hunsaker, which initially proposed helping with the pool's design and handling first-year operations.

    But city officials felt this price tag was too steep, and would prefer the operation of the pool stay under the guidance of local experts.

    "Right now we're in the fact-finding mode of this process," Jensen said. "I would say before November we will have a program in place, and we will definitely have everything set up before the pool opens."

    Jensen said Avon may consider input from the Lorain County Metro Parks or YMCA, and they recently sought the advice of officials in Avon Lake who operate the $4.2 million Ellen Trivanovich Aquatic Facility, opened in 2010, which replaced the city's community pool that had existed since 1962.

    "We had a recent meeting with Avon Lake," Jensen said. "Because they had a pool for all those years, before the complex they now have, they still had a lot of people with knowledge in place. This is going to be a first time for us, so we don't want to take it on and learn as we go."

    Corrao echoed the mayor's sentiments.

    "Avon wants to do this right," Corrao said. "We don't want to walk in thinking we can handle everything. We are not shy in getting help."

    Avon Lake Recreation Director Gary Gerrone said the Ellen Trivanovich Aquatic Facility is run completely in-house. The city realizes revenue and expenses in four operational areas -- admission, concessions, maintenance and aquatics.

    In 2012, it cost Avon Lake $265,000 to operate the facility and $235,000 in 2013, Gerrone said, with costs varying based on weather and the number of days the pool could be open. He added that the city is just about breaking even now and recovering costs through membership fees and other sources.

    Gerrone said beyond cost, the real question is if a city can meet health and safety standards while also serving the community in an effective manner.

    "Those are the questions that initiate any level of success," Gerrone said. "I think (Avon) is taking the right approach to make sure they can provide that. They have a lot of really good ideas and I'm impressed. I'm very excited to see what they put in the ground."

    Jensen said the city definitely wants to operate their new facility independently, but it will take some time before that's an option.

    "We'll probably do one-year contracts starting out," Jensen said. "And if we feel confident the following year that we can handle it then we will."

    Jensen said whomever the city chooses won't call all the shots -- the city will have an equal decision in all pool-related matters and programming.

    "We won't just hire someone to run this outright," Jensen said. "It will be a collaboration."

    The city likely will begin selling pool memberships in January or February.

    Contact Jon Wysochanski at jwysochanski@chroniclet.com.

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