The Wichita City Council on Tuesday passed its 2018-19 budget, and voted to add $4 million to its long-term spending plan to eventually build a new pool in the northeast part of the city.
Passing the $590 million operating budget was not a problem.
But discussions about the city's 10-year Capital Improvement Program, or CIP, were more complicated. Talks have mainly centered on a plan to close all but 3 of the city's swimming pools -- including the pool at McAdams Park, which closed earlier this year. Many residents have called for McAdams pool to be resurrected.
Vice Mayor Janet Miller suggested taking money planned for the renovation of Harvest pool and put it toward rebuilding McAdams Park pool.
"So that there's an awesome, new, fabulous pool in District 1, not an old, outdated one that kids don't want to swim in," she said.
However, she said she didn't know where the city would find $30,000 to operate the pool next year.
Her motion was struck down.
Bryan Frye was one of the five council members to vote against Miller's proposal. He said the pool system has been "ignored and neglected for years."
"But kicking the can down the road by swapping CIP dollars is not an easy fix," Frye said. "I'm all for putting another pool in the northeast district, but we have to do it responsibly and sustainably."
Building on Miller's proposal, Mayor Jeff Longwell moved to add $4 million to the CIP in 2021 so that a new pool can be built. That motion passed, but split the council 4 to 3, with members Frye, Pete Meitzner and Jeff Blubaugh voting against.
Longwell said community members who have spoken to the council about the closure of McAdams pool need to stay involved in the process of building a new pool.
“Now the real work begins," Longwell said. "And so I’m urging the community to increase your efforts to figure out how we can make this work.”
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