By Steve Woodhouse
Pella — City Administrator Mike Nardini reported at Friday's Community Services Board meeting that negotiations with the Vision Iowa Board will begin next week, regarding funding assistance for the Fields of our Future Sports Park.
The Vision Iowa Board made the decision to enter into the negotiations at its meeting last month. This board utilizes negotiations for major gift awards. A level of funding has not been established, and will be settled during this process.
With this process taking place, Nardini hopes to have a better undertanding of how much funding is available. This will help him better prepare a budget to submit to the City Council.
Nardini said bid letting for the sports park project is expected to take place in June, with a contract being awarded in July. The current timeline for the project has the park scheduled to open in the Fall of 2014.
Indoor Pool Renovation
The Community Services Board was also apprised of the City's plan to renovate the indoor pool. Mallary Herring said this would include work on the outdoor walls, to have the brick match the exterior of another building.
Renovations are scheduled to begin in April 2014, with the project completed by October 2014. The pool will be closed during this time.
Staff remains concerned about a boiler, used to heat the indoor pool, surviving another winter. They are hopeful that it will last until the renovation.
Community Services Director
Over 30 applications were received for the vacant Community Services Director position. That number has been whittled to between 5-7, according to Nardini.
The application process is now in the essay phase. Each applicant is expected to submit an essay, which includes response to questions posed by the City, within the month.
Three members of the Community Services Board volunteered to join staff in meeting the finalists, once selected, as one of the final steps in the interview process. Nardini hopes to have someone hired in June and have the new director start working in mid-July or August.
Outdoor Pool Open
The outdoor pool is open, and is being staffed by 65 lifeguards, ranging in age from 15-24.
"A majority of mine is high school kids," Herring said. The pool is utilizing a new scheduling system, in which lifeguards were able to schedule themselves online.
Herring and Nardini shared the good news about the pool's international safety award. The pool received a gold award this year - the second consecutive year it received an award - for its operational safety. This places the pool in the top 10 percent of pools in the country.
Odds and Ends
A lightning storm earlier this month affected several City facilities. Staff is still trying to collect information to provide a complete list to the insurance agency. A list is currently unavailable, though it is believed that the air conditioning unit at the community center was struck.
Monday and Tuesday, May 20-21, will be the annual Tulip dig. The public is invited to dig up Tulips in the City's beds.
The Boy Scouts suggested the City place mile markers along the bike trail. Parks and Recreation Director Chandler Nunnikhoven is working on this project.