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Bettendorf mulls new facility, pool to replace aging rec centers

Bettendorf mulls new facility, pool to replace aging rec centers

2019 Mother/Son Father/Daughter Day of Fun.

Gavin Houck, 7, of Bettendorf, throws a ball in the speed pitch game as his mother Jennie Houck looks on Nov. 24, during the Mother/Son Father/Daughter Day of Fun at Bettendorf's Life Fitness Center.

The City of Bettendorf may be considering a new shared community/fitness center and new outdoor aquatics center as a solution to replace its aging recreation facilities. 

During a Bettendorf Park Board meeting Tuesday afternoon, city leaders unveiled conceptual drawings developed by the city's consultant, Perkins + Will, for the new facilities. The project, which will cost up to an estimated $37 million, is proposed for the city's Middle Park.

Under the plan, the city looks to consolidate and replace the city-owned Life Fitness Center, Herbert Goettsch Community Center and Splash Landing. 

City Administrator Decker Ploehn told the park commissioners that the feasibility study, completed three years ago, showed a need to replace the facilities. "It was pretty easy to tell we're going to have to put a lot of money into the existing facilities and they're still going to be 50-60 years old." 

In fact, he said the city is budgeting an estimated $5 million over the next five years just to do repairs and upgrades necessary at the three facilities to get them up to code and slightly modernized. "It wouldn't surprise me if that number is significantly higher." 

In an interview earlier Tuesday, he said “In every instance, we are being nickeled and dimed consistently (by repair costs). The air filtration center inside the pool was one of a kind when it was put in with the pool 20 or 25 years ago. We are buying parts off the Internet to keep it alive,” he said, adding that the system needs replacing and the cost is estimated at $250,000. 

Interim Parks Director Liz Solis-Willis discussed the amenities being considered in the recreation/community center. She said the fitness component includes gym space, community space, three indoor basketball courts, a second-floor track and a fitness center as well as office space, a gathering space, locker-rooms and a board meeting area.

The center would be built at what now is Splash Landing, which under the plan would be demolished once a new pool is built near Middle Park's Lowry Field. She said features being considered for the aquatics center include a lap pool, lazy river, tube and body water slides, elevated slides, a leisure pool, a climbing wall and areas designated for toddlers.  

Ploehn said the estimated costs are between $32 million and $37 million, but he hopes to bring them down to the lower end of the range before the final proposal. At $37 million, the potential tax increase would be $141.14 a year for the owner of a median home, valued at $233,000. The increase would be $1.07 per $1,000 assessed valuation. 

He added that the steering committee, that is studying the issue, "is getting close to a final concept product." 

The next step would be for the park board to formally endorse and recommend the plan to city council for it to take the issue to a referendum. Ploehn said the target date would be September.


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