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Morning Poll: Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center

Renderings of the future Long Bridge Park Aquatics, Health & Fitness FacilityLast year, voters approved a bond to help build the new Long Bridge Park Aquatics and Fitness Center by a vote of 61 to 39 percent.

Now, however, the ongoing costs of the center are projected to be even higher than anticipated.

“What had been an expected annual operating deficit of $1 million to $1.3 million has now ballooned to more than $4 million, according to projections included in County Manager Barbara Donnellan’s updated budget forecast,” the Sun Gazette reported on Monday.

This news comes at a time when the county is facing a potential $24 million budget gap. Local fiscal watchdog Wayne Kubicki, who previously declared that the aquatics center could turn out to be “Artisphere on steroids,” said that the county would be better served to use its funds for other priorities.

Still, the aquatics center has its supporters, like the group Friends of Long Bridge Park, which has said it’s needed because “the large demand for aquatic activities can’t be met by… high school pools, which have limited public hours and space, and were designed for instruction, not a wide range of community needs.”

The Friends of Long Bridge Park also argue that other aquatics centers can cover most of their operating costs through memberships and rentals. The county itself, meanwhile, cautions that the latest projects are preliminary in nature.

If Donnellan’s projections prove correct, and the aquatics center will not be as self-sustaining as originally believed, do you still think it should be built?
 

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