MEETING WITH POOL CONSULTANT SEEMS TO EASE COUNCIL CONCERNS

Posted 2 years ago

By John Axtell

city_hall     A series of private sessions with pool consultant and engineer Dave Burbach yesterday afternoon capped by a roughly hour-long public session last night seems to have members of the Chadron city council looking more favorably toward hiring him on a no-cost contract to develop a plan to enclose the city pool as a replacement for the Armstrong Pool at Chadron State College.

Several council members had expressed concerns for several weeks about the proposed contract with Burbach’s firm, Burbach Aquatics, including the possible cost of the pool project and whether the public would support such a project even though pool supporters kept pointing out that contract was for a conceptual design study that would answer questions about what would be included in the project and the expected cost.

Councilman Paris Fisher says being able to meet with Burbach personally and hearing his public presentation as well left him feeling much better about the contract and related agreement…both of which will be on the agenda for next Monday’s council meeting.

While not willing to speculate on whether his fellow council members will be willing to approve the contract with Burbach next Monday…in part because he didn’t talk with them about it…Fisher thinks Wednesday’s meetings alleviated most of their concerns and questions as well.

The public and private meetings did clear up several misconceptions for those on both sides of the issue. Mayor Karin Fischer said she was wrong in saying the contract with Burbach would require the council to send the pool proposal to the voters…while City Manager Wayne Anderson…who supports the Burbach contract…found out that there is no charge for the Phase 1 conceptual design work even if the council decides against holding referendum.

Burbach says the Phase 1 work would take 4-to-6 months, with another 4-to-5 months for Phase 2…which includes designing and getting state approval of plans and specifications for the project and finding grants and other funding sources. Phase 3…construction of the pool enclosure building…would likely take 12-to-14 months.

While the city can stop the project at any point, the contract requires it to use Burbach as the designer and engineer if the decision is made to resume within 5 years. Some of the contract language was rewritten because of lingering concerns by Mayor Fischer. The changes will be reviewed by City Attorney Adam Edmond before Monday night’s council meeting.