Pool & Wellness Update from the Lakeside Chautauqua Board of Directors

Posted on February 14, 2016

Dear Lakeside Community,

Throughout the summer of 2015, Lakesiders were asked to imagine what
Lakeside could and should be in the years to come through multiple
surveys, numerous roundtable discussions and interviews.  

The end result of this input was to provide a broad framework to develop
a master plan, prioritizing specific projects and initiatives that
support and enrich our Chautauqua programming. Many needs were
identified, but Lakesiders consistently noted these two as short-term
priority: community swimming pool and wellness programming, as well as
teen programming and youth activity center.    

Today, health and wellness is integral to our mission of nurturing mind,
body and spirit. As you know, a Pool & Wellness Community Taskforce
was assembled in September 2015 to look at the community swimming pool
coupled with wellness programming and classroom space. The Taskforce
approached their duties to research an alternative, safe place to swim
with a sense of urgency following the record algal bloom in Lake Erie in
2015. The Taskforce objectives were to:

  • Define the characteristics of a community swimming pool and wellness center
  • Engage the broader Lakeside community
  • Conduct due diligence to make a formal recommendation to the Lakeside Chautauqua Board of Directors, including a long-range financial plan
  • Underscore community-driven process 

Since September, the Taskforce has conducted a total of 15 meetings, conference calls and on-site visits. As they began meeting, the group kept the following at the forefront:  

  • The initiative should focus on a community swimming pool and wellness center
  • In terms of cost, recommendations should reflect projected community ability to raise between $2-$4 million, based on donor analysis conducted by Cramer & Associates
  • The initiative should be based on community-driven feedback, especially related to features of the pool
  • Envision opening the community swimming pool and wellness center in 2017 

The Taskforce also conducted extensive studies regarding the location of a community swimming pool and wellness center and considered more than 10 viable locations in Lakeside. The following locations were reviewed: Western Shoreline North of Walk, Western Shoreline North and South of Walk, West of the Schoolhouse, Cherry Park, Perry Park, Central Park near Gazebo and Kenton Row, Pavilion - Annex and Splash Pad, Pavilion - Annex and Splash Pad + relocate East Pavilion,  Hotel Courtyard, Sixth Street and Central Park. The Taskforce members reviewed aerial maps of Lakeside and analyzed regional pool data from various northern Ohio pools. They worked with two companies who are top in their field - Janotta & Herner and High-Tech Pools. In addition, members developed and conducted e-surveys to more than 1,000 Lakesiders to receive input and feedback.     As they drilled down on a location for a community swimming pool and wellness center with classroom space, they focused on areas that minimized the impact on individual residences and existing Lakeside events and activities. The location needed to ensure that the swimming pool and wellness center would be coupled together. They reviewed and considered noise, traffic and parking, as well as visual aesthetics. Throughout the study, the Taskforce realized that the pool needed to be large enough to meet the community demand.   The Taskforce conducted several community e-surveys. Identified by the community as being important, the Taskforce recommended the following features be incorporated into the pool:

  • Small waterslide
  • Children's play feature
  • Zero depth entry
  • Lap lanes
  • Shaded area and deck
  • Heated water

The community identified the need for wellness classes and programming. The classes identified in several surveys include:

  • Top 5 aquatic classes/exercises:  Lap Swim, Swim Lessons, H2O Strength Training, Aqua Fitness and Water Aerobics  
  • Top 5 exercise classes:  Yoga, Strength Training, Bootcamp, Pilates, Zumba and Silver Sneaker Classes
  • Top 5 wellness classes:  Wellness Cooking, Children & Youth Health and Wellness, Nutrition, Stress Management and Metabolism

The Taskforce reviewed operations models and business plans and found that it is reasonable and achievable to operate a pool and wellness center. The Lakeside Chautauqua Board Finance Committee is now working on business models that would incorporate operating a pool and wellness center into the 2017 budget.   After continued review of various locations, the Taskforce began to focus on two locations: Central Park location, near the basketball courts, and Sixth Street, in the open field west of the Williams Tennis Campus.    During each meeting, the Taskforce had energetic dialogue, and a majority of members initially thought the lakefront location would be best for Lakeside. Data was extensively reviewed, and over time, many factors surfaced with the lakefront location. The following were significant factors that made the lakefront location problematic.    

  • Increased congestion at the lakefront with lack of parking 
  • Increased noise during special events at the Steele Memorial Bandstand and Hotel Lakeside Front Lawn
  • Infringed on residents' lake views 
  • The footprint is not sufficient to build the appropriate size pool and wellness facility
  • The visual aesthetics would be poor with a six foot fence added to Central Park
  • The height of structures would impede the sight across Central Park
  • There would be impact on the park setting during the off-season when the pool would be out of service, including massive covers during fall, winter and spring 
  • The support structures would need to be smaller with less decking space  
  • There would be significant tree removal in Central Park
  • Existing sanitary sewer and rain water utility lines interfered with the optimal pool placement and were very costly and high risk to relocate 

After extensive study and research and full review of both sites, the Pool & Wellness Community Taskforce voted unanimously to recommend to the Lakeside Chautauqua Board to build a community pool and wellness center at the Sixth Street location, in the open field west of the Williams Tennis Campus, for the following reasons: 

  • There is ample space to build a community swimming pool and wellness center that meets the capacity needs for our community. There is also room for expansion. Building a smaller facility would result in not meeting the demand and usage of the facility for our community now and in the future            
  • There will be limited infringement on residents, events and Lakeside activities 
  • This location will help spread traffic across the grounds and ease congestion
  • The newly developed space will focus around swimming, wellness and recreational activities, which will be close to some of our existing recreational facilities, the Williams Tennis Campus, the LifeTrail Wellness Stations, Nature/Walking Trail and Chautauqua Park
  • There will be less tree removal, no building reconfigurations and less impact on utilities, sanitary sewer and storm water lines
  • This location does not disturb visual aesthetics or the peaceful setting of Central Park or other park space in Lakeside

On February 12, the Lakeside Chautauqua Board of Directors unanimously voted to approve the recommendation. The Lakeside Chautauqua Board of Directors also directed the Lakeside Chautauqua Foundation Board to move into the initial stages of a capital campaign to raise funds to support building a community swimming pool and wellness center.   

Next Steps:

  • Plans and construction documents will be drafted for the community swimming pool and wellness center
  • The Lakeside Chautauqua Foundation Board of Directors will move into the initial stages of a capital campaign to raise the funds to support building the community swimming pool and wellness center
  • Webinars, community gatherings and electronic comment cards will be set up and scheduled so that the community can continue be part of this important process and provide input and feedback 

The Taskforce members, Board members, staff and volunteers have put significant time into this community-driven decision process. They understand the importance of collectively coming together as a community to define the need and follow a well-disciplined process to make a decision on important aspects of the project. Now it is time for the community to come together to help accomplish the urgent need to build a community swimming pool and wellness center.    We welcome your feedback, comments and questions. You are invited to complete the electronic comment card. In the near future, webinars will be provided for those who want to learn more about the project as well as upcoming Lakeside gatherings. To stay up-to-date on the community swimming pool and wellness center, visit the designated webpage.   Sincerely,

Randy Snow Board of Directors, Chair Lakeside Chautauqua

Kevin Sibbring President/CEO Lakeside Chautauqua