Aquatic Complex plans still afloat

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside City Council took another stroke forward on plans to build a $12 million plus aquatic complex at El Corazon Park on March 18. Unanimous approval was given to direct city staff to determine an order of magnitude, for building costs and yearly expense to homeowners, if the project is approved and bond funded.

There has been strong support from the aquatics community to build a competition size pool, which the city lacks. The aquatics complex would serve swim and water polo teams, aquatic classes, lap swim, and alleviate overcrowding at the dated and smaller Brook Street pool.

Councilman Jack Feller said it’s a quality of life issue.

“This is the community’s idea to build a pool,” Feller said. “It’s good for all of our citizens.”

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez and Councilman Jerry Kern also spoke in support of moving the project forward.

“It’s time for this community to have a swimming pool,” Sanchez said. “I want to stay on course.”

There were also concern voiced by Mayor Jim Wood and Councilman Chuck Lowery on the cost of the aquatic complex that will be paid, at least in part, by bonds and therefore homeowners. Both said they want to be sure the majority of residents want a swimming complex once the bond cost is known.

“You want details before you make a decision,” Wood said.

Lowery suggested city staff come back with more concrete costs before City Council allocates $1.2 million for studies and design, and dedicates $1.85 million a year in general obligation bonds. City Council agreed to take the extra step.

Feller and Sanchez vowed to stand by the project and make sure it happens.

Following the meeting Lowery said the community wants and deserves to be educated on the cost, before residents vote to approve a bond.

He added when the item returns to the City Council he hopes to hear from a broader range of residents on whether the project should move forward.

The aquatic complex is part of the El Corazon specific plan. The original plan located the swim complex further west by the soccer fields.

Proposed plans for the aquatic complex relocate it to be adjacent to the senior center.

City staff will report back on the cost of the aquatic complex in late April.

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