Editor’s note: Everything is politics and everything is political. What follows is a response from the Crozet Park Board to the recent decision about the STAR Swimming plan. Background information is available at Charlottesville Tomorrow – August 2008 and September 2008. If you feel strongly about this issue, feel free to leave comments here; I will ensure that they get delivered to our representative on the Board of Supervisors, Ann Mallek.
January 7, 2009 Agenda Item: “Concerns with Competitive Swimming Summary” A Response to the Executive Summary
Members of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and Albemarle County School Board;
It is the opinion of the Board of Directors of Claudius Crozet Park, Inc. that the executive summary and recommendation submitted by the committee, which was appointed by you, is biased, inaccurate and does not reflect the needs and interests of Albemarle County residents or its student population. Please consider the following in response to the Executive Summary:
According to the summary, â€œthree County high school competitive swim programs are currently in desperate need of reasonably convenient lane space.â€(click to go to executive summary)
– There are presently three aquatics facilities available in the urban ring (ACAC, Crow Pool and STAR swimming /Fairview Swim Club). There is not a desperate situation.
– Two more aquatic facilities are slated for construction in the urban ring in 2009-2010 (Smith Aquatics Center and McIntire YMCA), providing additional high school practice facilities.
– Monticello High School presently swims at Crow Pool; Albemarle High School presently swims at ACAC Pool, Western Albemarle High School swims in Star Swimmingâ€™s existing facility (STAR swimming/Fairview Swim Club). Charlottesville High School is scheduled to practice at the McIntire facility (when open), and no high schools are currently scheduled to practice at the Smith Aquatic Center, when complete.
– Western Albemarle is the only high school that doesnâ€™t have a reasonably convenient facility available.
â€œCompetitive swimming pools ranked 15th out of 16 with approximately five percent (5%) of the respondents selecting it as one of their top three (3) choices.â€(click to see survey included in report – PDF)
– The recommendation ignores the needs and wants of County residents as outlined in the supporting survey and numerous (if not every) County needs assessment.
– Competitive swimming is never mentioned in the Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Funding Request form, which is the basis of evaluation for the executive summary. (See Attachment B funding requests instructions).
– The recommendation accommodates after school practices and meets for 120 high school athletes for one quarter of the year.
– Other proposals accommodate 4 of the top 5 survey responses in the executive summaries attachment A. (A warm water recreation family-oriented facility was number one choice of respondents).
– Recreational aquatics facilities serve thousands of residents, including competitive swimming.
– Pools built specifically for competitive swimming cannot be easily used for other needs. Better options are available that serve not only competitive needs but also learn to swim programs, recreational swimming, and programs for swimmers with disabilities.
The executive summary failed to list several concerns with the Star Swimming proposal:
– County high school swim teams, the only beneficiaries, will need to use the facility for many years, even if more convenient options are available (such as Smith Aquatic Center, Crozet Pool, or McIntire YMCA facility) for recovery of a $500,000 County investment.
– Investment made into a private facility will limit public use.
– Lack of operator for â€œoptionalâ€ public use (Parks and Recreation Department is proposed)
– Lack of budget, funding, and reasonable hours for public programming option.
– Swimming Pool does not exist.
– Source of pool funding is not included in proposal.
– Star Swimming location is in a highly congestion (sic) area and inconvenient to 2 out of the 3 County school.
– Least attractive option for Western Albemarle.
– Location is near five existing and proposed aquatic facility locations.
– A facility already exists at Star Swimming/Fairview that is used by Western Albemarle High School.
The executive summary misrepresents Claudius Crozet Park:
– Long history of working successfully with the County to provide affordable programs to all County residents, regardless of income.
– Subcontracted YMCA coaching and aquatics staff since 2004.
– Proven 50-year track record of successfully running the ONLY public pool in Albemarle County.
– Existing affordable public swimming is subsidized through regular fundraising (30 year bi-annual Arts and Crafts Fair).
– Pool expenses include facility costs and depreciation.
– Crozet Park has over $150,000 in banking assets and no debt. Limited fundraising is required for proposal.
– Commitment and mission of YMCA mirrors partnership responsibilities in Crozet Park request. See Executive Summary Attachment F.
– Air supported dome structures provide the highest aquatic programming return on investment.
– Concern of financial failure is unwarranted and not realistic. There are numerous options other than County â€œtakeoverâ€ of operation.
– Monticello and Albemarle High School have numerous, more convenient training options available.
– Crozet Park proposal is the only option that provides reasonable access to Western Albemarle High School.
– The Crozet pool is already built and provides public programming.
– The adjoining 6,000 SF Community Building is already built and provides public programming.
– Crozet Park proposal can be accomplished in the least amount of time for the lowest cost.
In conclusion, Claudius Crozet Park, Inc. urges the Board of Supervisors not to support a recommendation that takes appropriations from Parks and Recreation to subsidize the replacement of an existing private facility, for a â€œquestionableâ€ benefit to a very limited County Schools program that does not require immediate assistance, at a time when financial resources are extremely limited.
If the focus of the request is only for additional options for high school swimming, Claudius Crozet Park, Inc. further urges the Board of Supervisors to re-evaluate the needs of high school swimming in relation to more important needs of City and County residents and in relation to the location of existing and proposed public and private facilities in Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville. It is perfectly reasonable to expect that Albemarle County, the City of Charlottesville, The Piedmont Family YMCA, the University of Virginia, ACAC, Star/Fairview Swim and Tennis Club, and Claudius Crozet Park, Inc. can meet every indoor aquatic programming need for every resident throughout Central Virginia at a reasonable cost and in a reasonable time frame. Claudius Crozet Park, Inc. looks forward to participating in such a dialogue.
The Board of Directors of Claudius Crozet Park, Incorporated
1 – Quite simply, in my humble opinion, the Park Board has been politically outmaneuvered. STAR Swimming has been working on this for years, and the Park Board is likely too late with their efforts.
2 – The only edits made to the above are formatting to improve readability on the blog or addition of links.
3 – The only connection I have to Crozet Park is that I live in an adjacent development and my family has had a lot of friends involved in competitive swimming.