Residents could have a new $2.76 million recreation complex with a 25-meter wave and swimming pool, a quarter-mile indoor jogging track, weight room, sauna room and a multipurpose gymnasium by next summer - provided they vote to pay for it.
Mayor Kent Evans unveiled a proposal to build such a complex adjoining the American Fork Junior High School. The Alpine School District has agreed to donate the indoor pool area and property located adjacent to it to the city for the project."We are delighted the city has made this proposal," said Steven Baugh, district superintendent. "If it is supported by the citizenry and they vote to permit construction, we will again have a facility kids in American Fork can use to learn to swim and for other recreational activity."
The proposal is the result of months of discussion about what to do with the existing indoor pool at the junior high, which is in need of substantial repair and is underused, and how to meet the recreation needs of the city's residents, Evans said Tuesday.
"We feel this will resolve the problems we have had at the junior high, will give citizens what they have asked for and will provide the school district with facilities it needs need for its programs," Evans said.
While the property will be free, the city will have to bond to finance building the complex itself. The city is investigating the existence of any grants that might be available.
Several public meetings on the proposal will be held during the next 45 days. If there is support for the concept, the question will be placed on the ballot in November, Evans said.
If the city is unable to find any other sources of supplemental funding and does bond for the project, it is likely that city portion of property taxes would be increased by 45 percent, or approximately $75 per year per residence, to pay for the complex, Finance Director Carl Wanless said.
In 1983, a proposal to bond for $525,000 to construct five ball fields near the Tri City Golf Course was turned down by residents. Controversy over the location of the fields and the amount of bond debt contributed to that proposal's defeat, Wanless said.
City officials are optimistic, however, about the current recreation proposal. The complex would appeal to a variety of users, and by enclosing the pool in a plastic bubble during winter months year-round use would be possible.
Officials also believe the proposal gives residents what they have asked for as far as recreational facilities. In 1987 the city surveyed residents about recreation opportunities. That survey, sent to 300 of the 15,500 residents of American Fork, with 250 returned, indicated that support for construction of a new recreation complex in the city was quite high.
"As I recall there were only 19 percent who didn't want to build a new complex or if built to finance it," said Steve Bailey, city recreation director. Those responding favorably to bonding said they would be willing to pay between $5 and $7 per month to support the complex, Bailey said.
A new pool, an indoor jogging track, a weight room and a gymnasium were the top amenities listed as desirable by the survey respondents. Also, survey respondents said American Fork should allow Highland and Alpine cities to be involved in the complex, but not other northern Utah County cities.
"If there has been one person who has tried to push this thing along over the year, it's been me," Bailey said. "I think the biggest need is to provide the community with someplace to go where they can perform leisure activities other than at LDS churches and at schools. The community doesn't really have anything."
Officials project that the new pool, with its added appeal to users of all types and its year-round operating capabilities, would generate sufficient revenues to maintain itself.