Walnut Creek: Council OK’s more funding for new swim center
WALNUT CREEK — Lawmakers will contribute another $5 million toward a new family aquatics center that will replace the aging Clarke Swim Center in Heather Farm Park.
A City Council majority agreed July 5 to boost the amount the city will pitch in for the new swim facility at the community park. Councilman Justin Wedel was the only lawmaker to dissent, saying he needed more information before agreeing to invest additional funds into the project.
The infusion raises Walnut Creek’s overall contribution toward a new aquatics center to $6 million, which is nearly half of its estimated $12-$14 million total cost.
According to the plan selected by lawmakers, the long-discussed new facility will include a privately-funded and operated medical wellness center and a 5,500-square foot leisure pool.
The plan by San Francisco-based consultants Harley Ellis Devereaux also calls for a 25-meter competition pool rather than an Olympic-size 50-meter pool, which won’t be built unless half of the estimated $5-$6 million cost is raised.
At least one community group has volunteered to come up with funds for the 50-meter pool. Walnut Creek Aquatic Foundation president Mike Heaney said the organization will raise half of the pool’s cost.
“In answer to your challenge, the Walnut Creek Aquatic Foundation is committed to funding $3 million to support the construction of a community-based aquatic facility that can adequately accommodate all current user groups and aquatic programming as well as expected community growth,” Heaney told the council.
Lawmakers also agreed to continue a feasibility study of the proposed 40,000-square-foot wellness center, which could include indoor lap and water therapy pools, physician offices and a medical fitness center. The study by Georgia-based Healthplex Associates, is being funded by John Muir Health, which is working with the city to redevelop the swim center.
The city has been studying for years how to revitalize the swim center, which serves more than 250,000 swimmers and other users annually.
Once final plans are approved, construction of a new swim center could take an estimated 12-18 months, according to consultants.
Jennifer Modenessi covers Lamorinda and Walnut Creek. Contact her at 925-943-8378. Follow her at twitter.com/jmodenessi