By Stephen Mayer, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
MISSION, KS (KCTV) -
A Johnson County community wants a new pool to replace one that is 56 years old and falling apart. But to do that, neighbors are going to have to shell out more money.
Voters will have to make that decision on Tuesday.
Whether it's paint and cement literally peeling right off the pool floor or a filtration system that in many places is rusted beyond repair, a person doesn't have to look far to see the Mission, KS, public pool is in need of serious upgrades.
People see more and more signs going up in front of homes all across Mission urging voters to save the pool at West 61st Street and Woodson Road.
"It's a 60-year asset that had a 40-year life," Mayor Laura McConwell said.
McConwell said the aquatic center next to city hall, which was built back in 1956, is showing its age - gutter walls are patched up with cement, the underground pumping station is completely corroded and the rough fiber glass hull is now exposed over wide portions of its water slide.
McConwell decided to convene a task force to explore the city's options.
"It didn't make sense to put several million dollars into a pool that is going to fail. It won't solve our problems," she said.
The 15-member panel decided it's cheaper in the long run to build a new complex where the old one stands, putting an end to patch-up jobs that are getting more expensive every year. They hope to finance the $6 million construction cost with a three-eighths of a cent sales tax hike.
The increase in sales tax will last 10 years with all money raised dedicated to the parks and recreation department.
"There's been a few practices we've had to cancel because the pool wasn't safe to swim in," said Mission Marlins swimmer Bridget Hannon.
Hannon is one of 200 members of the Mission Marlins swim team. She's urging voters to approve the measure, worried what could happen to her teammates once the pool finally gives out.
"(It could be) 200 kids that their summers just won't be the same," she said.
If approved, construction of the new aquatics center would begin at the end of the swimming season in 2013.
Here's how much it's going to cost people if approved - the highest sales tax a person would pay in Mission is 10.05 percent.
For reference, Kansas City, KS, has a rate of 10.025 and Merriam, KS, is at 8.775 percent.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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