Crossville city council has studied an indoor recreation center with a swimming pool off and on for 15 years. As the years have passed, the estimated cost has increased. The total now expected to be between $19 and $20 million.
The city council discussed the matter in a work session June 16 and it came before the county commission at their regular meeting on June 20 to ask that the referendum be put to citizens countywide.
The proposal is to put the matter before voters and give them a chance to decide if they are willing to support a bond issue to borrow the money necessary to build the project with the tax increase that would be required to fund the payments for the community amenity. Previous surveys and public meeting have shown a high level of support by citizens for such a facility but when the question becomes approval of a tax rate increase, officials are unsure if such a measure would continue to still have that level of support.
The referendum would be capped at a maximum of $20 million expenditure for construction and, if approved countywide, the expected property tax increase would be about 10 cents. If the referendum is put just before city voters, the city tax rate would increase by about 38 cents and residents out side the city would then be required to pay a higher fee to use the facility. Neither of these amounts includes the funding necessary for operation of the facility estimated to be $1.3 million. A portion of that cost would be offset by membership and use fees while the balance would come from tax funds.
City council discussed a project that would be similar to a facility at Manchester Tennessee to include a 16,000 sq. ft. gymnasium with a second level for a walking track, locker rooms, classrooms, racquet ball courts and a full size competition indoor pool. In addition to the 66,000 square foot building, the Manchester facility also has an outdoor water park feature with slides, a lazy river and splash pads. The outdoor water feature may or may not be included in the Crossville facility as it would add another $3 million to the total cost.
Crossville city councilman Jesse Kerley said it was time for the people to decide if they wanted it or not. Cumberland county agreed and gave permission for the matter to be put before countywide voters with approval to come on the actual language of the ballot question to come back before the county commission for final approval.
One possible location for the facility is next door to City Hall on Main Street on the site of the current Villager Inn. City officials say the property is available for sale but no price has been quoted and it would also require additional parking. The photo below shows a footprint of how a facility similar to Manchester would fit on the property.
The deadline to have the matter turned into the election commission for inclusion on the November ballot is August 25.