Many items were on the April 9 agenda of the Hot Springs Village recreation committee, but none generated more frustration and discussion than a presentation on the outdoor pool project. It began with a timeline of pool-related events. Examples: 2010 – a committee was formed and three options identified (replace, renovate or relocate), 2011 – repair estimate sought, 2012 – locations and costs discussed, 2014 – pool closed after the season ended, 2015 – pool did not pass inspection, 2017 – town hall meetings and roundtables took place and a subcommittee formed,  2018 – proposals requested, more information gathered and a motion was put before the Property Owners’ Association board of directors.
Recreation director Stacy Hoover also showed a chart of what a $1.161 million pool would have and not have and also what a $700,002.24 pool would have and not have. The major items left out, to bring the cost down, would be things like a swim lesson area, snack bar, storage area, lockers and a difference in square footage (3,000 vs. 1,600).
The project was undertaken as a design-build effort. That did not sit well with committee members and a lengthy discussion followed, which obviously reflected a disagreement with the project process.
Board director Bill Roe, who serves as board liaison to the committee, also shared concerns saying, “It seems like we’re doing it backward.” And later, “I’d like to see a drawing of it (the pool)” and “Are we rushing this?” He then invited everyone to come to the April 18 board meeting to voice their opinion.
Committee chair Donna Aylward said, “I’m for a pool and for spending the $1.1 if it’s the right plan.” She later told the Hot Springs Village Voice, “Although I support the construction of a pool, I do not support a design-build project. Like building a home, I believe we will receive the best product for the best price from a professionally designed plan that is bid by multiple contractors.” Aylward asked Hoover if the project RFP was public information. Hoover did not know.
Other members made comments as well. Examples: “We’re putting the cart before the horse” and “I think we’re going into this blind.”
Aylward reminded everyone that the matter is not up to the committee to approve or to vote on. The matter is currently in the hands of the POA board. She, like Roe, encouraged people to attend the POA board meeting.
On another matter, Hoover said they are currently in the process of reviewing surface materials for the bocce ball project, two of which are maintenance-intensive on the front end. Members of the lawn bowling club spoke up a bit later about the overall bocce ball, lawn bowling area project. The main concern was removing the clubhouse which, they said, serves them well. Another issue was placement of porta-pottys further away, which would be a long walk for elderly folks. They added that where they are now is convenient.
Hoover noted that the clubhouse building is at least 30 years old and needs to come down. The lawn bowlers disagreed.
Protection of the green was also brought up. “Please don’t move the gate,” said one lawn bowler. They also requested that they get to see the plan, the layout of the area, before work begins.
Other items in Hoover’s informative report said posts for new flag poles are in place at Coronado Center, maintenance has installed the women’s suit spinner, and security cameras are going in at DeSoto Marina.
A kayak fishing tournament will be coming in May and water has been turned on to all tennis courts. A large quantity of leaks at courts seven through 10 remains, with bids coming in about renovating the courts’ watering system. The bids were higher than expected, thus staff is evaluating the project.
Following the meeting committee officers for the coming year were elected. Aylward was re-elected as chair, Holly Harack as vice-chair and Tammy McCullough as secretary.
The recreation committee meets again at 3 p.m. Monday, May 14,  at Coronado Community Center.