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Aquatics Center Takes Center Stage at CIP Hearing

by ARLnow.com | June 28, 2012 at 10:40 am | 5,962 views | 110 Comments

(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) Opponents and supporters of the planned Long Bridge Park aquatics and fitness center spoke out at Tuesday’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) hearing.

County Manager Barbara Donnellan’s proposed FY 2013-2022 CIP describes the center as a “one-of-a-kind recreational, fitness, and competition asset [that] will provide long-term value to our community and attract people regionally to the unique combination of assets that is Arlington — to work, to play, to live.”

While supporters say Arlington County “can afford… world-class facilities” like the aquatics center (see statement from Nathaniel Giddings, after the jump), detractors — like fiscal watchdog Wayne Kubicki and GOP County Board candidate Matt Wavro — say that the county actually can’t afford such “vanity projects.”

Kubicki, chair of the Arlington County Civic Federation’s Revenues and Expenditures Committee, said in a statement (excerpt below) that the aquatics center will impose a long-term fiscal burden on taxpayers, who are already faced with a rising county budget.

Donnellan has proposed including $42.5 million worth of the aquatic center’s $70+ million cost included in a larger park bond, to be considered by county voters in November. The Civic Federation has called for the aquatics center to appear on the ballot as a separate bond item.

Kubicki made the following personal remarks to the County Board at Tuesday’s hearing.

The CIP projects 3% annual revenue growth for FY14 through 16….

Combining just the operating costs for new items such as Arlington Mill ($3.3M) and the Silver Line (our first year cost is $1.7M), and increased debt service costs, our FY14 budget already needs over $14M in growth – before increasing anything.

Funding the proposed CIP will necessitate major revenue growth, well over 3%, and unlike the past two fiscal years, where the burden of increased spending fell mostly on our commercial sector, the next several years will more heavily fall on homeowners. Commercial assessments are very unlikely to jump a third straight year.

There is one prime candidate for controlling some of this – the Long Bridge pools building, with its $73M price tag.

With our admittedly deteriorating infrastructure, and pressing school capital & operating needs if enrollment growth continues, coupled with uncertain future revenues and the over $7M in annual operating subsidies for the two streetcar lines upcoming, is Long Bridge really a priority? Can it seriously be called a “need”?

Combining proposed debt service, including the $20M interim non-bond borrowing, with its projected operating subsidy, Long Bridge’s annual cost is nearly $7M per year. That’s over one cent on the current tax rate- for one single building, that most residents will never use, and that many would have trouble finding, even if you gave them a map.

The Long Bridge project raises the term “vanity project” to a new level, and fiscally has the potential to be the Artisphere on steroids.

If Long Bridge is on the fall ballot, it should be as a separate, stand-alone referendum, with nothing else attached to it, as the Civic Federation strongly recommended to you. The fiscal ramifications of this project deserve separate discussion and a separate vote.

Matt Wavro, Republican candidate for County Board, said that the funds proposed for the aquatics center should instead be used for neighborhood projects and for the maintenance of existing recreational facilities. (Excerpt of his remarks, after the jump.)

Good Evening. My name is Matt Wavro. I live in Crystal City and am happy to be a neighbor to Long Bridge Park.

In the State of the County Arlingtonians heard from County Board Chairman Mary Hynes that “We have depended on a growing federal government, [and] we all know it could change, Federal spending could decline significantly. We need to be prepared.”

And just yesterday morning we heard from an Arlington based company Politico that “Lockheed Martin is likely to notify the ’vast majority’ of its 123,000 workers that they’re at risk of being laid off.” The story went on to inform us that “Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor and a bellwether of the industry, won’t be alone. Other defense contractors have also signaled they’re considering sending out notices before November.”

Given our dependence on Federal spending and the potential negative ramifications of sequestration, this CIP is the time and place to refocus our fiscal plans so that we better invest in our neighborhoods throughout the County instead of embarking on large spending projects that could impair our ability to address the challenges that we all agree will have a negative impact on the fiscal situation of our community.

This CIP Plan puts our local government on a continuing path of significant and sustained increases in revenues collected from our community. What does that mean the average Arlingtonian?

That means the required additional revenues described in this CIP will require increases to the already high tax burden on homeowners and a concurrent increase in rents as the underlying costs of property taxes rise for proprietors of rental properties. That means tax and rent increases for the next ten years.

Instead of the flexibility that the members of the County Board talked about during the budget process, a distinct lack of flexibility is available to our community in this CIP. Residents will have to face significant tax increases through increased assessments or increased tax rates to meet the assumptions of the plan and the factors that determine our ability to keep our AAA bond rating.

The solution I propose is to reduce the total debt burden in the CIP allocated to the Aquatic center and repurpose the balance we can afford to make significant investments in our neighborhoods.

Instead of spending $50 Million on an Aquatics Center, we should focus these bond funds on projects that can more broadly address quality of life issues in our neighborhoods by increasing Neighborhood Conservation Fund Funding.

Instead of spending $50 Million on an Aquatics Center that will charge expensive user-fees to residents and non-residents who want to access what is purported to be a public project, we should improve access to the county’s most used recreation assets and fund additional synthetic turf conversion projects at the front end of the 10 year program.

I propose that we repurpose the funds included in the CIP for a very expensive aquatics center to projects and purposes that serve the entire community and start to make the appropriate investments in our community before reductions in federal spending and possible sequestration that could reduce the fiscal flexibility for our community so much so that we are locked into vanity projects that prevent investments in our neighborhoods that directly affect resident’s quality of life throughout the entire community.

If the board moves forward to include the Aquatics Center as part of the bonds on the Fall ballot, I urge the County Board to follow the recommendation of the Civic Federation and make it a clean and direct referendum without any attachments.

Nathaniel Giddings, a representative of the Friends of Long Bridge Park group, said Arlington residents “deserve… having [the aquatics and fitness center] right next-door.” The following is an excerpt of his statement to the County Board.

My name is Nathaniel Giddings. I am an Arlington County resident and a frequent user of Long Bridge Park. I am here on behalf of the Friends of Long Bridge Park. I am also an attorney with Hausfeld LLP, which is assisting the Friends obtain 501(c)(3) status.

I would first like to thank the County Manager for recommending the construction of Phase 2 – the aquatics and fitness facility – of Long Bridge Park. This recommendation recognizes that the County can afford the proposed, world-class facilities and that Arlington’s citizens, in fact, deserve, having these types of facilities right next-door.

At a minimum, this Board should adopt the Manager’s recommendation and include the proposed funds for the Park in the bond referendum this November.

In addition, the Friends urge this Board to support the full vision for the Park. This Board should adopt, as part of this CIP, the ten-year plan for the completion of these remaining Park features.

As the Board can see, many of this County’s constituents support completion of the Park. You will hear from many more of them tonight.

Not only do we have the support of those here tonight, but I would also like to present the Board with the signatures of 2,250 individuals who support Completing and Connecting the Park.

In short, there is overwhelming community support for the completion of the Park, the County can afford to complete the Park – including the future phases – and the citizens of this County should have the opportunity to vote, in November’s bond referendum, for the funds necessary to construct the aquatics and fitness facility at Long Bridge Park.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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  • cj

    How about a more balanced report on the hearing? The aquatics and fitness center drew strong support from a diverse group of speakers who emphasized its value for everything from kids’ swim classes to physical therapy for seniors, in addition to competitive water sports and fitness activities. Friends of Long Bridge Park presented petitions with over 2200 signatures urging the Board to include funds for the aquatics facility in this year’s bond referendum and to move as quickly as possible in the following years to complete and connect the park.

    As speaker after speaker told the Board, the high school pools are too limited in design and available hours to meet all community needs. The proposed aquatics and fitness center has been carefully planned to offer Arlington residents, workers and visitors the wide range of recreational and therapeutic opportunities that Fairfax and other nearby jurisdictions already provide.

    It’s an excellent initiative and should be approved.

    • Rebecky

      +1

      • Woops.

        +!

    • Wayne Kubicki

      cj – were you actually at the hearing?

      One of the Long Bridge supporters who testified early on in the hearing asked for those in the room (and the County Board room was nearly full at that point) who supported the project to stand. Less than half the room did.

      • WeiQiang

        lol. Perhaps many Arlingtonians who voted for the bond referendum consider their support registered and don’t feel compelled to come to board meetings and stand in opposition to your dissident view.

        … as if the renewed focus on the aquatics center is a do-over of the vote for Long Bridge Park. you’re a funny guy.

        • Opie

          So you subscribe to the theorem that public apathy is more powerful than public opinion, because there’s more of it.

          • WeiQiang

            False choices, brah. I don’t think public support for $50M worth of bonds qualifies as apathy. I don’t think that having a VIBRANT STANDING [yay! I got to use it] competition at a board meeting qualifies as anything … and I personally don’t think it’s powerful.

            I think that Arlingtonians voted to create a Long Bridge Park that included an aquatics center. The vote was democratic and the opposite of apathetic. The public has seen the new park materialize. Pardon me if NOT objecting to something that I vote FOR seems like apathy to you.

          • Opie

            Sorry, the vote was not “we want an aquatics center and we don’t care what the costs are”.

            They have to come back begging for more money. Funny how the law works that way. Lots of people are against that, and not too lazy either.

          • WeiQiang

            again, don’t project your false arguments on to my statement. I haven’t stated or intimated that “we don’t care what the costs are” nor have stated that anyone was lazy. stick with the veritable arguments going on here and stop trying to restate my position in a manner that doesn’t support this discussion.

            when the referendum comes up, it will be passed. if the voters believe that those running the county aren’t managing the costs, they have a mechanism to replace them. i have already stated that I believe that the LBP rehabilitation of LB Drive was slow rolled to accomodate the Boeing HQ construction when crappy concessions were negotiated. I have registered my objections to the County. I’ll also vote for the bond referendum, separate or not.

            then, you and I can crack a PBR at the aquatics center snack bar, bro

          • Opie

            False dilemma. We can retain the county board and still vote down the pool building.

          • WeiQiang

            i didn’t set it up as a choice. if there is a bond referendum, people can vote on it. if, independently, folks want to hold the Board accountable for its management of our money, they can do that too. one choice doesn’t affect the other. there is no dilemma.

          • Opie

            Do you get dizzy running yourself in all these circles?

        • Wayne Kubicki

          Those who voted for the 2004 referendum approved $50M for what they were told would be 2 soccer fields and the pools building.

          $40M of that has been spent – we got three soccer fields and part of a park. No pools building.

          The November referendum is not a “do-over” by any stretch. $62M more of borrowing ($42M in bonds; $20M in non-bonded interim bonding until the County can sell the excess density from the site – if that happens) is needed for the pools building.

          The County is also in an appreciably different financial situation than it was back in 2004. The increases in school enrollment and uncertainty in continued federal spending, coupled with already new recurring spending for such things as Arlington Mill & the Silver Line, complicate the budget horizon.

          • WeiQiang

            I’m all in favor of a referendum for funding the rest of the park. It will pass again, easily, I predict.

            If you want to look for opportunities to save money, there are plenty of other opportunities in Arlington. If you are so concerned about infrastructure, how about better oversight on streets projects. Why replace all ADA-compliant ramps at an intersection when only 2 or 3 need replacing? Some neighborhoods [I'm not talking on arterials] get upgraded twice with streetlights and paver sidewalks and crosswalks while others don’t have any sidewalks or any streetlights. “Missing Links” is a suckhole that is mis-managed.

            You’re targeting a project that the citizens voted for and will continue to vote for. Even a de-scoped or marginally less interesting aquatics center will be seen as an improvement over the overgrown Twin Bridges site.

          • JMT

            So you agree with the detractors on a bond vote for only the pools building’s funding? Why all the histrionics then?

          • WeiQiang

            I will vote for the aquatics center, whether it’s rolled in to a separate issue or not. i’m in favor of the democratic process and will participate however it comes out. the histrionics are not mine, so i can’t answer the clown question, brah. From DAY ONE, I haven’t called the project a vanity project or tried to associate LBP with Artisphere. I didn’t ask the assembles masses to STAND VIBRANTLY at a board meeting. you mean those histrionics?

      • cj

        Wayne — you know I was at the same hearing you were. You also know that much of the room was occupied by supporters of Reevesland who by and large weren’t listening to anything else.

      • Lucifer

        Wayne you are in a very small minority on this one.

      • The pool can wait

        It’d be great to have another pool, but even Arlington can’t afford every bell and whistle all at once. I’d like to see the Board scrap the streetcars and go for the pool instead.

    • Lucifer

      +1

  • Private James Frazer

    We’re doomed!

  • Arlingtonian

    Kind of a one-sided post. Almost all of the text is devoted to quoting the two opponents. How about some balance in reporting here?

    • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

      Without the block quotes, it’s balanced article. But Kubicki and Wavro were the only ones to publicly release a transcript of their comments, at least to us.

      We’d be happy to reprint the remarks of a supporter of the center. Or, perhaps you can provide a detailed argument for it in the comments.

      • Julia

        ARLnow, can you let us know where we can send transcripts of comments from LBP supporters? I’m happy to send you my testimony, and I know several others who would be interested in doing so as well. Thank you!

  • Wayne Kubicki

    So there is no confusion – the Civic Federation has NOT taken any position on supporting or opposing the Long Bridge pools building.

    The Federation, at this point in time, has only passed a resolution asking the County Board to put the Long Bridge project on the November ballot as a stand alone bond issue, with no other project(s) attached to it.

    • WeiQiang

      calling it a “vanity project” and “Artisphere on steroids” doesn’t qualify as opposition?

      seriously, you’re going to claim that by making a post directly below evidence to the contrary?

      • Wayne Kubicki

        You need to read what I post – those comments are mine personally, NOT the Civic Federation’s. That’s the distinction.

        • WeiQiang

          I don’t “need” to do anything except trying to make sense of an article that ONLY ties your name to the Civic Federation and that does not indicate that your statement was personal. ArlNow might want to completely re-write the above article. Last sentence before your personal comment reads, “The Civic Federation has called for the aquatics center to appear on the ballot as a separate bond item.” This mirrors your personal statement.

          I’ve read your posts and the article. Funny how you segregate the oppositional comments when they don’t support your narrative.

        • the real drax

          I hope you made that distinction clear when you read your comments at the hearing, Wayne. Did you?

          • Piker

            The quoted comments and his own are more or less the same. What’s the big deal?

          • WeiQiang
          • Pike

            Yeah, still not an official position.

          • WeiQiang

            Like I said before, the article isn’t well-written to make the distinction.

            Both the above article and the Gazette article focus on the speaker’s membership in CIVFED. Is CIVFED going to disavow Mr. Kubicki’s personal characterizations? If so, please note:

            ArlNow email address, which can be found on our “About” page: http://www.arlnow.com/about/

            arlingtonnews@gmail.com

          • cyclist

            You just have trouble reading. The article is fine.

          • the real drax

            No, Piker – when he made the comments at the hearing, not here.

          • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

            It’s perfectly routine to explain what someone is best known for before quoting them. We’ve now further clarified that these were Mr. Kubicki’s personal remarks.

          • WeiQiang

            thx

        • Lucifer

          Wayne,
          The Civic Federation comment was brought up at the last minute with little or no prior notice and voted on late at night after all but the detractors had left the meeting. You and the Civic Federation do not represent balance or can compare to the 2200 folk who signed the petition for the facility.

    • JohnE

      It should be a stand-alone ballot issue.

  • Douglas Park Resident

    It is about time that Arlington County actually invested in a major multi-use recreational facility that can meet the County’s growing recreational needs and at the same time recover a large proportion of its costs, instead of small “neighborhood” recreational centers that cost us all money. Other jurisdictions realized the small recreational facilities don’t recover costs a long time ago. Look at the recreation/aquatics facilities in Fairfax County (which many Arlington residents pay a high dollar to use because of the lack of facilities here). These facilities do a very good job a cost recovery. Here in Arlington, because many of our existing facilities are in school buildings, we can’t even begin to recover their costs and their availability for use by senior and others is limited during the daytime during school hours. What is planned for Long Bridge Park makes good fiscal sense and is the result of a comprehensive countywide recreational needs assessment and planning process. I know that I and my entire family think this is a good investment by the county and we will certainly be taking advantage of it even though it is not located in our immediate neighborhood.

    • Arlingtonian

      +1

    • Lucifer

      Right on

    • nom de guerre

      Do you and you family plan to use public transportation to get there or do you plan to drive? If you plan to drive, do you realize it will take you at least 30 minutes to get there only to find out that there is no parking?

  • John Fontain

    County Manager Barbara Donnellan said the pool will “attract people regionally to the unique combination of assets that is Arlington — to work, to play, to live.”

    I thought the purpose of our local government is to serve its citizens, not to spend money to attract other people. Is this really their basis for wanting to build the pool – to attract more people to the area?

    • Piker

      Sounds like it will bring more traffic. And you know how Arlington feels about people from outside Arlington driving here, especially in all those non-existent HOT lanes that they objected to.

    • confused

      most counties and cities have depts of economic development – what is their job if not to attract people to work, play, and live?

  • Amber

    Does the plan include an outdoor public pool? That’s what the county needs. We have plenty of access to indoor pools at the local high schools.

  • Friend of the Long Bridge Park

    In one of the comments (Lucifer) on the SunGazette’s one sided story, we learned more about how the Civic Federation’s resolution was passed (by a 26-5 vote I heard elsewhere): “The Civic Federation resolution regarding Long Bridge Park was not advertised, was brought up after most members had finally left after two long presentations and was voted on by a few who seem to be negative about all Arlington initiatives.” It is mind boggling that in order to focus attention on two opponents, the above story and the Gazette (boosting only the GOP candidate for the County Board) — a newspaper that probably likes to think of itself as an objective (not to say “fair and balanced”) source of information for Arlingtonians — would completely fail to note a single speaker in support of this long standing priority project actually showed up. And those supporters who spoke included Jef Dolan, the mother of the only swimming Olympian from Arlington, Tom Dolan, and they were among the more than 2200 signers of the petition to Complete and Connect Long Bridge Park that were delivered Tuesday night.

    • WeiQiang

      But did those 2200 people STAND VIBRANTLY?

    • Arlingtonian

      This is really a very simple matter. If the County Board includes funding for the so-called “Aquatics Center” within a general park bond, the public will vote for the bond. Most people who reside in Arlington like parks. Most are blissfully ignorant of the ways in which their county government spends their park bond money.

      Most Arlington voters will be at the polls to vote for Democrats who are running for the Presidency, the Senate and the House of Representives. They will know nothing about the bond issue. They will not know that the County Board will spend most of this bond money on an expensive boondoggle that will never recover its costs and that most people in the County will never use.

      If, however, the County Board decides to ask the voters to decide whether to fund the “Aquatic Center” in separate bond issue, the bond will fail by an overwhelming majority. You can bet your bottom dollar that the County Board will not decide to do this. That is the “Arlington Way”.

  • WeiQiang

    OK, everyone who has been refused use of an Arlington County Park because of external usurpers or who objects to user fees being used to support the Parks, please STAND VIBRANTLY

  • Having fun yet?

    Would someone who has familiarity with the topic please compare and contrast this pool project with taxpayer funded stadium deals that have, as I understand, it, not worked out so great for many American cities over the last 15 years?

  • Having fun yet?

    My guess is the purpose of this pool is too attract Olympic training, national competitions, etc. Something this grand is not meant for actual residents of the county to use.

    • WeiQiang

      If you look at historical documentation on the county web site, the premise is that – as a result of a resident quality of life survey in the first half of the 2000′s – residents said the quality of life in ArlCo is very high, but that one of the greatest shortfalls was a pool/aquatics center. This is what underpinned the LBP intiative.

      It is meant for county residents to use and is meant to accomodate world-class events … but no brahs should be flicking their butts and empties in to the pool from the balcony.

      • Having fun yet?

        OK, but did county residents really say they needed a “world-class facility” that hosted special events? Isn’t that the definition of vanity?

        Why build something so lux that it risks being voted down if made a stand-alone issue? And where local users will likely have to defer to special events users on a regular basis? Why not something really good but more modest in scale?

        • WeiQiang
          • Opie

            All that shows is that they are way behind schedule and way over budget.

          • WeiQiang

            Did you see the descriptions of the facilities?

          • Opie

            Did you see the part where it said they would try to fund part of this through the private sector?

          • WeiQiang

            yep

          • Having fun yet?

            Read that and the 2004 North Tract Master Plan. Couldn’t find the survey where county residents demanded a “world-class” facility. I guess it’s a moot point now, but we’d know just how popular it really was if it was a separate vote.

          • WeiQiang

            Regret that available references don’t indicate resident demand for a “world-class” facility. if you want to go there, i didn’t say “world class facility”. to be fair, i haven’t read anything about hosting “world-class” events. all I did was look at the list of facilities in the CIP and review the minutes on LBP. my bad for projecting my bias on to the facilities. then again, to be even more fair, maybe it shouldn’t be referred to as a vanity project or artisphere on steroids.

            i like to think that the facilities listed will enable LBP to hose world-class events.

          • nom de guerre

            “hose world class events”? I see what you did there-it’s nice.

          • WeiQiang

            typo. = host

            wanna crack a suitcase?

          • nom de guerre

            tru dat, bro. We might need a double.

          • Johan Spetzer

            Where is the survey?

          • ChrisS

            Probably just made it up.

          • WeiQiang
        • barry

          Did anyone else notice that the Aurora Opera is ceasing operations the same month as the County Board approved a $10 million refinancing of the Signature Theater? A few pet sports, recreation, and entertainment interests have their vanity projects extravagantly funded while the rest live hand-to-mouth.

      • Piker

        I wonder how many voters thought not having something like Artisphere was a great shortfall in Arlington?

      • nom de guerre

        Does this mean it will be a PROPER POOL?

  • JnA

    What could be obtained in the way of additional aquatic facilities for say $20 million? Can existing outdoor pools be domed to make them year-around facilities? Can County Government encourage health care organizations to build more specialized therapy pools? Boeing will have a huge number of employees and visitors working next door to Long Bridge Park. What will Boeing’s impact on aquatic center and recreation center utilization be?

    • WeiQiang

      Thank you. I don’t know about huge numbers of employees – the building is only 5-6 stories tall. But, the county should have extracted at least a couple million to support LBP.

      • barry

        Up to 5,000 vehicles in and out of Boeing’s parking garages every day, employees, training, conferences. Impact on LBP, aquatic center, recreation center?

        • WeiQiang

          5000 vehicles/day? where do *find* this stuff? there are 5 office buildings within two blocks of Boeing HQ – 8-15 stories – and there aren’t 5000 vehicles. using Vornado’s web site, I’m pained to find 1500 parking spaces in ALL of the Gateway buildings.

          • barry

            You people who post from your desks at 2100 should know by now that parking spaces on-site is not = to vehicle trips to./ from the site.

          • Opie

            Zing!

          • WeiQiang

            those of you who do math should know by now that saying “5000 vehicles in and out” not = vehicle-trips [#vehicle exits or entrances]

            as stated, 5000 vehicles * 2 [an 'in' and and 'out', conservatively] = 10000.

            if the [wo]man wants to do some calcs, do some calcs.

          • WeiQiang

            … and I *still* call shenanigans on 5000 aggregated entrances+exits.

            if you work in the area and are familiar with the big contractors, you would know that the increase in traffic won’t be from the garage parkers, it will be from the executive sedans coming and going.

        • the real drax

          And 5,000 new jobs!

      • DCBuff

        WQ–ah, the ArlCo way–”extract” a couple of mil from the private sector. All voluntary that extortion.

        • WeiQiang

          I knew when I wrote it that “extract” would garner a mention or two. Thanks for stepping up. I hope you will consider the whole Boeing deal. Planning and Environment [I believe] recommended against the Boeing plan. The Board approved it. Good or bad, like it or not [see my post on "free markets"], parties negotiate and trade. In return for god-knows-what, the County extracted [or achieved concessions for] a paltry $150K in curbs/sidewalks/plants and a CaBi station. Meanwhile, Long Bridge Drive remediations fell behind while LBP opened. I’ve advocated many times here the idea that the Board should have negotiated a greater share of LB Drive work [which the Boeing project disrupted] or a commitment to fund part of the aquatics center [even tho Opie didn't think I was paying attention]. The previous plan for the site for mixed-use was viable, so the Board was in a strong position. Insteand, they’re going to block my view of the Pentagon power plant.

          • cj

            The utility relocation work on the road was way behind schedule before the Boeing project was approved. Responsibility for those delays rests with Dominion Power and Verizon. As for the Boeing negotiations, I wonder what you know that proves that the previous plan was “viable” — since generally available information holds that Monument Realty had grievous financial woes and couldn’t find either a banker or a buyer for the 2008-approved plan.

        • WeiQiang

          … on the upside, the Boeing garage will be generating revenues from 5000 cars/day going in and out.

      • RWarren

        They probably tried, and Boeing told them to go kick rocks.

    • Dome?

      What existing outdoor pools are you proposing the County put a dome over? There are no County-owned outdoor pools in Arlington.

  • Help a fellow out here

    Where does the STAND VIBRANTLY meme come from, and does it have any relationship to a/the PROPER SLICE?

    And no, this isn’t a clown question. I was out of town and need to catch up.

  • WeiQiang

    it has not been entered in the ArlNow Blue Book yet as an official meme. I’m running the through the Arlington County Civic Federation for approval, so – for now – it is only my personal usage. Link: http://www.arlnow.com/2012/06/26/residents-voice-opposition-to-new-glencarlyn-school/#comment-183262

    • barry

      Number of Vornado commercial tenants and Boeing employees, contractors, visitors expected to use LBP recreation and aquatic center?

      • WeiQiang

        what are you asking/saying?

  • bred

    Something I would like to know is what is the county’s TOTAL bond debt now? Can we really afford more without taxes going up?

    • Opie

      You mean taxes going up again.

  • KalashniKEV

    Public Pool???

    GROSS!

    • HaydiosMio

      Public pool? Pendejo! Bro can you imagine all the slime that’ll be in there?

  • John Fontain

    Nathaniel Giddings says “the County can afford to complete the Park” in the same statement in which he suggests that the county borrow money for the project because we don’t have a lick of savings to do so. Doesn’t sound like we can afford it if you’ve got to go into hock to get it.

    He also says we “deserve world-class facilities,” but provides no explaination for why we “deserve” them, let alone why we need them, or why we couldn’t have a nice (but non-world class) pool instead.

    • Opie

      Waaaaahhhh, he just wants it. Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.

    • bemused bystander

      “Borrow money” is a synonym for issuing bonds, which is a generally accepted way for public entities to raise funds for capital investments. The county has also gone into hock, in your elegant phrase, for investments in Metro, the waste treatment plant, land acquisition, fire stations, streets, other infrastructure, and schools.

      • John Fontain

        “The county has also gone into hock, in your elegant phrase, for investments in Metro, the waste treatment plant, land acquisition, fire stations, streets, other infrastructure, and schools”

        No doubt, but the point here is that Giddings is implying we already have the ability to pay for this when the truth is that we don’t have a penny and will need to go further into debt to pay for it. He should be straight up and say “we don’t have the money for this but I want it really bad so please give it to me.”

        • N. Giddings

          You do realize that this statement was given in just under two minutes, right? It would be some feat to squeeze an an economic analysis on the impact that this project would have on Arlington County’s debt-financing and its impact on credit ratings by Moody’s, Fitch, S&P, etc… into two minutes and still cover all of the other points.

          Regardless, the County Manager has undertaken this analysis and determined, through her recommendation, that the County could afford to pay for the facility (through bonds) while maintaining its credit rating. Long of the short – Arlington can afford it.

    • N. Giddings

      See comment below re: two minute speech.

      I don’t recall you being at the CIP meeting or speaking (based on your name). If you were there, you would have heard dozens of individuals elaborate on the (a) the world-class facilities and (b) the need, deserve, and want points in my introductory remarks.

      If you were there, please correct me. If you were not, I would suggest reading the minutes of the meeting (or watching on local television) and then taking up this conversation after that point in time.

  • Mc

    Spending $70+ million for a swimming pool is obscene. I’m sure adding a new pool would get use, but I’m also sure the County could build a serviceable pool for less than $25 million. If they can’t build this for a reasonable cost they shouldn’t do it at all.

    • John Fontain

      It does raise the question of how another local municipality without as deep a tax base would go about a project like this and how much they could build a suitable pool for.

  • Eric

    Please note that part of the cost of the project is for passive activities and environment cleanup. Specificly the project extends the Esplande, provides a significant outside meeting place and makes a connection to the Mt Veron trail possible(but does not include the bridge).

    Pedistrians need the size and location of the Esplande to safely walk. With the recent death the county needs to provide safe places to walk.

    The site has environment problems that need to be attended and fixed. Many people say the are for the environment, but when you actually have to start dealing with contaminated soil and paying to clean it up the truth shows. Many can talk, but who can walk the walk?

    Lastly, the site is right next to an interstate interchange. The traffic is not a large concern for the local residents because most will use the interchange to get to the site. In addition, because the local community has been involved from the start, the park is in general considered good for the community.

    • Opie

      I’m all for the county cleaning up the environmental problems on a site that they chose to do all this public development on.

      I’m against them taking on more debt to do it. Find money from existing revenue.

      And don’t borrow any money for a pools building.

      • Mortgage

        Did you pay cash for your house or did you borrow the money against your future earnings?

        • Opie

          Well if I could have found a house that was less than 8% of my annual take-home, you better believe I would have snatched that baby up with cash money. That’s like 2 paychecks! If you found a house in Arlington that you could buy with 2 paychecks, what would you do?

    • UndergroundAsphaltSlab

      The part of the site needing most remediation is already taken care of. It is under the westernmost futbol field.

  • The Bible

    If God had meant for man to swim, God would have given man flippers.

    • Chocolate Laboradorable

      Good to know I’ll be welcome.

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