Welcome to the first blog update about the Merriam Parks and Recreation Facility Master Plan. We’re glad that you are interested in the process and encourage all members of the community to remain informed about the project. Let’s start with some background on the issues we face:
The Irene B. French Community Center
The City of Merriam purchased what is now the Irene B. French Community Center (IBFCC) in 1988 for $285,000. Renovation began in 1989 and included updates to all mechanical systems; new floors, windows and doors; and work to make the building compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — including the addition of an elevator.
Total startup costs for IBFCC (purchase, repairs and upgrades) came to an estimated $2.3 million. The facility opened in February1990 and has been an active part of our community.
The Merriam Aquatic Center
The Merriam Aquatic Center (MAC) was built in 1985 and renovated in 1995. Traditionally, the life of a pool basin is anywhere between 30 – 40 years. This estimated life expectancy depends on many factors, including weather (freeze-thaw cycles and annual moisture play major roles).
Assessing conditions at the IBFCC and the MAC
Over the years, maintenance of aging infrastructure at both facilities has significantly increased. In spring 2014 a facility assessment was completed on the MAC by Larson and Associates. In the spring of 2015 a similar study was completed on the IBFCC. Findings from both studies revealed that across the board, systems are failing and repair costs are staggering.
Findings of the two studies led to the formation of a Steering Committee and the recommendation to undertake the Facility Master Plan process to identify what the community wants for its Parks & Rec facilities. Today, we are four months into the process of working with Pros Consulting to complete the study (after an in-depth selection process).
One of the major factors in the process is conducting a statistically valid survey. The survey has been completed and results are expected this week. These findings should provide more insight into which services and amenities the community would like, and if new facilities are warranted.
Once the final report is completed in December, recommendations will go before the Merriam City Council to decide how the city should proceed.
Thank you for your interest and continue to stay up-to-date by reading weekly updates to this blog.