East Center pool

GVR directors approve up to $15,000 for an initial design on Wednesday to replace the East Center pool after it closed in May.

The GVR Board of Directors unanimously approved up to $15,000 for a preliminary design on a replacement pool at the East Center on Wednesday after initial progress stalled in July.

While the board is moving forward on exploring the replacement, directors noted it wasn't a guarantee after learning more about costs.

Director Mark Kelley wanted the Planning and Evaluation Committee to also consider designs for a smaller, single-use pool rather than just the broader multi-use concept presented.

The East Center pool closed in May after contractors reported a leak was losing 250 gallons per day.

During the July 29 board meeting, Director Randy Howard made the same motion but it failed when the vote ended in a tie.

Since then, the pool's future remained uncertain as directors and members questioned whether Green Valley Recreation should replace it.

There was also debate over whether a 1967 Warranty Deed between Arizona Land Title & Trust Co and Housing and Urban Development legally required GVR to have a pool at the East Center.

The board discussed whether to release a summary of the legal opinion in September during a special meeting. However, the discussion left any decision up in the air.

President Don Weaver on Wednesday commented on what the organization's lawyer advised them concerning any legal requirement to replace the pool during an Aquatics Subcommittee presentation before the meeting.

"Basically, the legal obligation is such that our attorney said that we really don't have to, but what we could face is some group filing a lawsuit, which would then end up being in a contracted lawsuit," he told directors.

Pool concept

Aquatics Subcommittee member Kristin Bean said a new East Center pool concept includes a zero-entry area for people with mobility issues and a large flat area for water exercises and walkers.

The pool would also be 75 feet long with surface ropes and lines on the bottom for lanes.

"Since we are building this, we are going to go ahead and carefully look that this meets specs for competition," she said. "So that you could have meets, actually sanctioned meets at this pool."

The Aquatics members presented the pool as multi-use, which they said would increase the pool's low usage numbers since it would meet more members' needs.

The concept included an eight-foot deep end for synchronized swimming, scuba and snorkel lessons, deep-water exercise and social noodle riding.

Bean said replacing the pool is practical because GVR already owns the land, which has a hole in the ground with locker rooms and pool equipment on-site.

Bean also said replacing the East Center pool would relieve any overcrowding at Las Campanas with continued home construction near the popular pool.

Aquatics member Lynn Janklow added the East Center serves Madera Reserve residents who don't have pools in their neighborhood amenities.

Another Aquatics member Theodore Boyett said the pool would also have anchor points around the deck for various watersports, such as volleyball, basketball and water polo.

Director Bev Lawless asked if the Planning and Evaluation Committee looked at any other uses for the pool area.

Howard, who is the committee's chair, said they did.

"The prospect of building another facility – a building – at East Center has been looked at, but it has been real problematic because of the Pima County code for required parking," he said.

Howard told directors the county is OK with the East Center's current parking spaces if GVR only replaces the pool. However, he said if they construct a new building, the county would require GVR to build new parking.

And Howard said that would mean acquiring land from Haven Golf Course or demolishing the East Center's tennis courts.

"And I'm not interested in fighting that battle," he said. "Maybe the next P/E chairman would be willing to deal with that. But to go toe-to-toe with the Tennis Club and tell them we're going to take away one of their tennis courts – a pair of tennis courts – is not really a very practical battle to engage in."

Jorge Encinas | 520-547-9732