A fun new addition may eventually arrive downtown as a committee consisting of some Culpeper Town Council members recently arrived at a consensus that staff should continue exploring the possibility of constructing a public pool across from the depot.
Town Manager Chris Hively presented a potential concept based on Harrisonburg’s public pool that includes an Olympic-sized pool, a smaller pool and diving boards. In Harrisonburg, the smaller pool is open year-round by placing a temporary structure over it during winter months.
Preliminary cost estimates include about $1.5 million for offices, restrooms, a small building and the smaller pool. The Olympic-sized pool would cost an estimated $500,00 while it would likely require another $500,000 to be able to use the smaller pool during the winter. Operating costs could reach $400,000 annually once the facility is fully operational year-round, which is based on the budgets of localities with public pools.
The site across from the depot, Hively said, is a suitable location as it could be constructed without a lot of “earth work.” Additionally, a parking lot proposed to be constructed nearby would allow easy accessibility to the pool.
Town Councilwoman Jamie Clancey asked if the project would be possible to fund without raising taxes and staying on track to be debt-free by 2026. Hively noted that the town should receive a substantial amount of money from the America Rescue Act. Some money could also be freed up if the town receives grants to fund the construction of parking and improvements along East Spencer Street.
Councilman Jon Russell said he likes the concept as it may generate downtown foot traffic. He would like to explore the possibility of cutting costs by either seeking private donations or working in conjunction with the county. For example, he said the town could provide water and sanitation while the county’s parks and recreation department oversees maintenance.
“It truly would be a community pool at that point because everyone has buy-in,” Russell said.