Miami okays pool maintenance in time for summer


Last month, the Town of Miami instituted a search for a contractor to get the Hostetler Community Pool in sufficient repair to use as a bridge to a proposed aquatic center that local advocates hope to build within the next four years.

The $110,000 repair was approved at the end of March and Miami officials expect the work to be done in May before temperatures spike this summer.

“We sent out an RFP (request for proposal) and received a bid back that was real close to what we estimated,” Miami Town Manager Joe Heatherly said. “The contractor estimated he could get the work done in three weeks.”

The work includes completely resurfacing the pool; replacing the chlorinator; structural repairs that include replacing two steel beams and the diving board, as well as refinishing 5,720 square feet of decking around the pool.

Heatherly said the repairs, to be done by Dolphin Pool Maintenance in Mesa, should last five years.

The news comes as a welcome relief to a community that currently does not have year-round swimming options and even the seasonal options leave a lot to be desired.

The only other pool in service is at the Cobre Valley Country Club, although problems there led Freeport-McMoRan to take over management in February in an attempt to get the facility up to snuff by the time summer rolls around under the new moniker of Cobre Valley Recreational Center.

But according to Heatherly, that pool is not large enough for the CCYS Globe Miami Piranha Swim Team, let alone the entire community.

Funding for the repairs come in large part from the United Fund of Globe-Miami, according to UF President Linda Oddonetto. UF will contribute about $70,000, while substantial contributions will come from BHP, Capstone, Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center (CVRMC), CCYS (Copper Cities Youth Sports), Freeport-McMoRan, Gila County, Globe Rotary and Resolution Copper.

As the work on the Miami pool moves forward, Paul Jepson, Globe’s city manager, has been working with a local nonprofit to create a tax district in order to fund the Cobre Valley Aquatic Center in a central location for the entire community.

In 2015, Globe’s then-city council conducted a needs assessment report that determined the community wanted a regional pool and was willing to pay for it.

Jepson said there has been resistance in the state legislature to the community taxing itself, but he is hopeful that continued efforts, aided by Freeport-McMoRan lobbyists, will bear fruit in time to get the district’s formation on the November ballot.

“We came in strong with a new bill [but] they got caught up in talk about the tax,” he reported to Globe City Council in March. “The rural senators get it, but the urban ones don’t.”

According to Evelyn Vargas, chair of the Cobre Valley Regional Aquatic Center, after four years of trying, getting the bill stuck in committee was tough to deal with, but efforts will continue for as long as it takes.

“We were so close. It was devastating to us,” she said. “Many [representatives] don’t realize pools are funded by tax dollars.”

CVRAC estimates the tax would be about $64 per year based on the assessed value of homes in the would-be district.

Vargas added that the aquatic center could be a regional draw and an economic benefit to the Globe-Miami community.

“Think about the value, the aesthetic, the pride,” she said. “It would be making a statement to people coming into the community. It would also help with health and wellness. We have problems with obesity, heart disease and diabetes.”

Once a district is formed, it would act in much the same manner as a fire district, with appointed directors and the ability to enter into public and private agreements, accept gifts, donations and grants of cash or land, the ability to hire staff and consultants, as well as manage and oversee capital construction.

The district would not have the ability to take on debt in any form.

The proposed aquatic center came as the result of the Globe Community Center pool’s closure in 2014 that happened on the cusp of its busiest season.

The pool, built in the late-1950s, was in severe disrepair and, according to a report that can be found on the city’s website at www.globeaz.gov, had structural problems from the outset and was cost-prohibitive to repair.

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