River Cities

Miami Springs Council gets citizen input on proposed aquatic facility

At a special meeting on Wednesday, July 2, the Miami Springs Council unanimously chose a concept and layout for a proposed aquatic facility.

But council members first listened to input from citizens and their concerns, which included the city taking on a debt of approximately $5 million and whether designs would accommodate swimming needs of Miami Springs Senior High water sports teams.

Willy Bermello of Bermello Ajamil & Partners, Aquatic Design Group presented a PowerPoint program detailing three concepts for consideration. Each had a different size and shape and available features, but all were within the acceptable cost range. However, available parking spaces varied.

The presentation included photos of pools built in California, Nevada and Texas, three states that have more liberal rules regarding pool occupancy. Florida is more conservative with occupancy determined by size and water depth. The council learned that a more shallow pool would increase permitted occupancy.

Proposed concept No. 3 included a mutual lobby/reception area with the Community Center with the pool built close to the northeast side of the Community Center. However, the concept was rejected because of additional cost.

Nevertheless, the council was in favor of more space in the enclosed pool building for potentially moving the woefully cramped exercise/weight room and game room from the Community Center.

The council chose Concept No. 2, which is called a hybrid pool, with a 5,054-square-foot pool, which is less than the current 6,363 square feet and can handle an occupancy of 191 people in the pool, according to Florida code. The depth will range from 11⁄2 to 12 feet.

The pool would feature six lap lanes and an active play area that includes a lazy river and slide. Features can be modified to include a splash area and/or climbing wall.

“We want the pool to be more family-friendly,” said Mayor Zavier Garcia, who indicated that he thought the new design would increase attendance.

Councilman Billy Bain said, “What we choose has to fall within the budget that we discussed. I hope that we can be conservative and come in closer to the $4 million mark than the $5 million mark.”

Garcia thinks the favored concept with the parking lot between the Community Center and pool will be friendlier to nearby neighbors.

“With the way it is now, people attending a large event at the Community Center choose to park on the swales of homes rather than parking on the other side of the pool,” said Garcia.

Bermello said the concept includes more greenery to block the parking lot from neighbors and reduces the number of entrances and exits, which will add more parking.

Garcia asked Bermello to include a pedestrian connection across the parking lot from the pool to the Community Center.

With about 50 people in attendance, the council voted unanimously to support concept No. 2.

“After some tweaking, we can come back to the Aug. 25 council meeting with a specific schematic design,” said Bermello. He also agreed to present the new concept at public meetings on Aug. 22 at the Senior Center early in the day and then later at the Community Center.

Although some speakers questioned the expenditure for something that doesn’t generate profitable income, Garcia said, “The pool, the golf course and the police department ensure the quality of life that people expect in Miami Springs.”

Note: Questions from citizens at open forum regarding the police contract and pension contribution generated responses from the mayor and some council members. That matter will be reported on in the next issue.