Officials look at project funding: City council considers 2nd loan for work

GREENFIELD — City leaders are mulling a second loan to pay for upgrades at Riley Pool.

The Greenfield City Council recently gave park leaders approval to borrow nearly $2 million to build a splash pad south of the pool. The same night, members also heard a pitch to finance the second phase of improvements, tentatively planned for fall 2018, at the city-owned facility.

Buzz Krohn, the city’s financial consultant, and Ellen Kuker, the parks and recreation superintendent, asked the city council to borrow $300,000 from cash Greenfield has on hand to cover engineer and design costs associated with the second phase.

Construction would be paid for by a second loan, they said, though total cost estimates for the second phase have yet to be released. City officials likely won’t need to vote on the loan until next summer, Krohn said.

Park leaders planned all along to put more money into improving the pool after installing the splash pad, Kuker said. The pool, which was opened in 1981, needs work on its infrastructure, facilities and amenities in order to remain competitive among other pool complexes in the region, Kuker said.

“(The pool) needs some love,” Kuker said.

Construction on the splash pad is expected to begin in September or October, and work on the pool wouldn’t begin until after the facility closes next summer, Kuker said.

Park leaders hope to renovate locker rooms, install a beach-like sloped entry in the shallow end and add slides for little ones.

They want to add more shade structures, like personal cabanas, too.

Officials say those are the types of features residents have requested in the past. Final design details likely won’t be approved for several months.

City officials long have planned to upgrade the Riley Pool, which has seen few updates since it was first opened more than 30 years ago.

In 2005, a proposal to take out a $3.5 million bond narrowly passed the Greenfield City Council. That project was to feature a new water park complete with slides and a lazy river. But former Mayor Rodney Fleming vetoed it, saying the cost was too high.

Still, residents continued to ask city officials to consider upgrades.

The splash pad — plans for which call for spray features and dump buckets for kids of all ages — is the first step in finally answering those request, city official say.

Making additional improvements at the pool will ensure the city can offer family fun at the site for the next 15 to 20 years, Kuker said.

The first $300,000 needed for the project would come from the city’s economic development income tax fund, and council members have preliminarily approved the funding request.

Mayor Chuck Fewell told members the fund, which can be tapped for a number of city projects whether or not they’re tied to economic development, will be reimbursed the money once the second loan is approved.

Council members will discuss the proposal further at their next meeting 7 p.m. Aug. 9.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.