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September 04, 2008

Claudius Crozet Park seeks funding for year-round covering of community pool

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Crozet-pool Another area pool is seeking access to County money to improve their facility in order to provide year-round competitive swimming lanes. Kelly Strickland represents Claudius Crozet Park, which operates an eight-lane 25-meter pool during the summer months. Strickland appeared before the Board of Supervisors at their meeting on September 3, 2008, one month after a representative of Star Swimming put in a request for $500,000 to enclose their pool at Fairview Swim and Tennis Club.

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The County has set aside $1.25 million in its Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to pay for competitive swimming lanes. The Piedmont Family YMCA has also requested money to build lanes at its new facility in Charlottesville’s McIntire Park. In return, County high school swim teams would gain priority practice times.  However, Star Swimming came forward in August with their request pointing out that their location off of Rio Road would mean a closer drive for students in northern Albemarle County. 

Strickland did not make a specific financial request, but instead presented an overview of the role the pool at Crozet Park plays in western Albemarle County. He reminded the Board that the County assisted with the construction of the Crozet pool in 1996, and continues to provide financial assistance for some families thanks to a partnership with the County’s Department of Social Services. Strickland also suggested residents of western Albemarle County would benefit from an indoor aquatic facility.

“Obviously Western Albemarle High School Swim Team is right there in Crozet, and kids could actually take the bus to the front door of the swimming pool to practice at Crozet Park,” Strickland said.

Strickland added that the Piedmont Family YMCA could operate a satellite branch there to serve its members who live in Crozet. He added that it is the only public pool in the County, because no-one needs to have a membership to swim.

At the end of Strickland’s presentation, Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett) asked him if he had a sense of how much money it would take to convert the pool to a year-round facility. Strickland said the pool’s board had received three cost estimates for “bubbles” to place over the existing pool that ranged between $250,000 and $350,000.

“What we would like is to have consideration that if the County is looking at the Piedmont Family YMCA for a potential CIP investment, if they’re looking at Star Swimming  for a potential CIP investment, we’d like you to know that we also have a program in Crozet that can serve everything from White Hall to Afton to Greenwood and Batesville into Ivy,” Strickland said.

Rooker told Strickland that he felt the Star Swimming proposal was specific, and included a plan that demonstrated how the facility’s operating costs could be maintained without ongoing County support.  Strickland said that Crozet Pool would not be seeking operating costs from the County.

Supervisor Ken Boyd (Rivanna) told Strickland that he has been meeting with County Parks Director Pat Mullaney to come up with a way for all groups interested in the CIP funding for pools to apply. “We’ll certainly be meeting with you and the YMCA and [Star Swimming],” Boyd said.

Sean Tubbs

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