The two Borough pool upgrade projects at Palmer and Wasilla high schools will receive some additional project funds amounting to $1,050,000 reallocated from five trail projects that were also part of the same 2016 Recreation Bond package.
The Assembly approved the reallocation with Assembly Members Ted Leonard and George McKee voting no. Both had said the voters already approved the projects. Leonard asked to see a list of the changes.
The redesign helps maximize the number of pool users with the fastest growing population, the seniors, said Assembly Member Barbara Doty. She complimented Library & Recreational Services Manager Hugh Leslie for listening to the public and his "excellent management of the meetings."
Listen to the full audio of the discussion and vote posted here. Read the legislation at this link under the Sept. 18 agenda. https://www.matsugov.us/assembly#legistar
Project re-design, a lobby upgrade at the Wasilla pool and a new 10-person spa that is handicap accessible were some of the new costs. The prior spa required a ride on a lift for handicap accessibility, said Hugh Leslie, Library & Recreational Services Manager. The revised pool projects will include locker rooms and room for staff, among other upgrades, he said.
Assembly Member Barbara Doty said the original design for which the bond was passed was relatively old and the public comment happened after the funding occurred. "I believe that people don't necessarily get motivated to give much public input until there's money for a project. And what I observed was that now that there was money, people wanted to make sure it was done properly and that's where the public response came (late)," she said.
The trails with reduced budgets include:
Wasilla Creek Headwaters Trail for a $350,000 reduction in budget and the Big Lake Trail Bridges also for a $350,000 reduction. Capital Projects Director Jude Bilafer told the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly Tuesday night that the Big Lake Trail project would work well with one less bridge, reducing its budget. An arched culvert would replace one of the bridges, he said.
The Wasilla Creek Headwaters project is in the Matanuska Moose Range. For now, the project has no traction due to a disagreement by the State agency property co-managers (DNR and ADFG) on motorized versus non-motorized access, Community Development Director Eric Phillips said. The Borough plans to complete the parking lot on the only land in the project that the Borough owns for $150,000. The Brasil Springs Trail project will not be completed and had been removed from the Borough's Trails Plan.
The Herning Trail will be completed with funds retained. The Mat-River North/South Trail work was completed in-house, the land acquisition is complete with available funds.
The Wasilla Pool will be completed and open in April. Work will begin on the Palmer Pool three months after the Wasilla Pool opens, Leslie said.
For more information contact Library & Recreation Services Manager Hugh Leslie at 861-7868 or Public Affairs Director Patty Sullivan at 861-8577.