An indoor aquatic center at Curtis Park could be a long way off, but the idea of such a proposal already has generated some concern among University Park residents.
The UP City Council found out as much on Tuesday, when it approved spending more than $31,000 on a feasibility study with Colorado-based Ballard-King & Associates to study the viability of building the facility that would be shared by the city and Highland Park ISD.
The idea comes from a joint meeting this summer between the UP council and the HPISD board of trustees, which might eliminate its existing natatorium as part of a proposed bond election likely slated for next spring.
With land in the Park Cities at a premium, the school district entered preliminary discussions with the city about adding a facility adjacent to the existing outdoor pool at Curtis Park. It would be operated by the city but constructed by the district using bond funds.
The feasibility study will analyze the potential size of the building, along with issues related to parking, operations, and activity needs. It will include interviews with community leaders and focus groups, and culminate with a written report in November.
The council’s vote on the study included a requirement to hold a public forum on the issue in September, after residents expressed concern that the consultant wouldn’t seek enough public input.
A handful of speakers at Tuesday’s meeting didn’t like the idea because of safety, traffic and environmental issues along a busy stretch of Lovers Lane.
“This is a huge facility in a small space that will generate unnecessary traffic in an already congested area,” said UP resident Ann Burns.
A public forum is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 16, subject to consultant fees and availability.