A committee formed to look into the possibility of bringing a spray park to the city of St. Clair has recommended a price tag for the facility and a company to construct it.
The committee, headed by Ward 2 Alderman Barb McGlenn, met last week to consider proposals. After discussion, it was decided to spend up to $290,000 on the park and to have Westport Pools of Maryland Heights build it on the former site of the community pool on Park Drive.
Last Monday night, Dec. 17, the St. Clair Board of Aldermen gave its blessing to get the ball rolling.
“What we’re asking tonight is to get approval to begin negotiating with Westport Pools and to start looking into financing options,” McGlenn told her fellow aldermen during the most recent aldermen meeting.
The board unanimously supported the motion to proceed.
“I would like to thank the committee for the hours and hours and hours and hours they’ve put in,” City Administrator Rick Childers said during the meeting. “The committee has reached a very good decision. ... If we stay on track we hope to have a finished project for the citizens of St. Clair by the end of May.”
When the committee met last week, it evaluated and ranked the proposals, Childers said.
“After all questions were answered, the recommendation was for Westport to build the park,” he said.
A written recommendation from the committee to the aldermen states that “based upon our review and analysis of the proposals, the committee is pleased to recommend to the board of aldermen an assignment for the committee to begin the negotiation of a contract for Westport Pools.”
Westport’s proposal includes 21 deck-level and five structural features that would be divided into three areas — toddler, grade school and early teens. Benches, shade areas and restrooms also would be constructed.
The spray features would consist of various jets, including a noodle tower, mist tunnel and tsunami spray, and three water cannons.
“The committee liked elements of both proposals,” Childers said. “But as an overall proposal, they were more comfortable with Westport.”
Westport’s proposal included the use of local subcontractors “whenever possible and economically feasible.”
The other proposal came from Water Splash Inc of Quebec, Canada.
Earlier this year, Mayor Ron Blum formed the spray park committee. It was charged with investigating the potential for development of a spray park facility in Evergreen Park at the old pool site.
“After compiling and reviewing a great deal of both general and technical information, the committee set question-and-answer sessions with firms representing an array of approaches to the design and construction of such a facility,” the recommendation to the aldermen reads. “Using information gathered from these sessions, the committee then developed a very detailed request for qualifications and proposals.”
That led to the two official proposals being received, evaluated and discussed.
Other committee members are Alderman Travis Dierker, park board member Letha Childers and Bob Fawe.
Childers said the other piece of the recommendation revolved around financing for the park.
“In addition to developing the physical design and construction documents and processes to be followed, the committee also pursued various funding mechanisms to make the cost of the facility fall within an acceptable annual payment range,” the recommendation reads. “In this stage of our work, we considered direct loans, certificates of participation and direct leasing.
“The committee recommends to the board of aldermen that the committee be assigned to pursue financing for this project at a full cost not to exceed $290,000 using a direct loan in cooperation with the St. Clair Industrial Development Authority.”
On Monday night, Blum reminded board members that the original budget for the park was set in the $300,000 range.
In the fall, the committee started getting down to the nitty-gritty as far as specifics.
In September, the group began putting together a list of “musts” for the facility.
The available area totals 22,400 square feet, or an area roughly 140 by 160 feet.
Currently, Franklin County has no spray park of any kind.
“This committee has been charged to investigate and bring back a proposal to the board of aldermen regarding a spray park,” Childers said during a meeting in September. “That means we need to look at this and this and this and this and this to come up with what we want. ... This committee has the responsibility to the city and to the community to come up with a workable plan that has all the parts.”
After about 50 years of use, the pool was demolished after it closed for the final time in August.
When terms of an official contract have been reached as well as a financing option, the board will have to approve both.