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Cary Might Dive Into Public-Private Pool Partnership

Posted February 29, 2008
Updated March 4, 2008

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— The Town of Cary has yet to build a municipal swimming pool, but that could be changing.

Leaders put a $24 million aquatics center proposal on hold. However, another option could cut the price in half and allow the town to build more pools.

YMCA officials said they have met with each town council member and the mayor to discuss a possible partnership.

While their discussions are in the “very early stages,” one possible scenario has Cary providing land and up to $12 million for construction costs.

Cary leaders said they hope the YMCA could then manage and operate the facility. Leaders said this would let Cary reduce taxpayers' costs.

Also in preliminary discussions, town leaders say the YMCA expressed interest in building as many as six pools, but it was unclear how many actual centers that could be.

Council Member Jack Smith said he brought up the idea six years ago, but the council at the time had no interest.

"I've got to believe that we can find a win-win relationship where we both save cost and yet we provide a wide-range of recreational activities to our citizens,” he said. "I'm a strong believer in public-private partnerships for recreational amenities. The opportunity is there to see if there's any synergy."

A piece of land and near Carolyn Dowdy’s house in West Cary is being considered for one of two proposed sites for an aquatics center.

“I really would love to see an indoor/outdoor pool. That would be great,” she said.

The two potential sites include one near North Cary Park off Cary Parkway and another in West Cary near Green Level to Durham Road. Cary's current $24 million proposal calls for a community center with three pools — two indoors, one outdoors.

Dawn Cross, a resident who organized a petition to keep the aquatics center in West Cary, said the area's booming growth makes it an ideal site to serve citizens.

"We really have never asked for an aquatics center per se," she said. "We have been asking for community center services."

However, some West Cary residents said they have concerns about YMCA membership dues.

“We have mixed housing types of community here, mixed income, and it really wouldn’t allow for some groups in the community to actually use the facilities,” Cross said.

Council members said there could be discounted rates, but talks are still in the early stages.

Cary leaders said they'll ask town staff to draw up a more detailed proposal to present to the public. A YMCA spokesperson says the organization is in talks with "a number of communities" about expanding its service.

11 Comments

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  • ncguy Mar 4, 2008

    I say no pool!
    Heck every subdivision in Cary all ready has one- so who would use these? Maybe in the winter but that's only a few months!

  • Greene Giant Feb 29, 2008

    I wonder if Cary is going to share water with Raleigh or Durham? Maybe the pools can wait? If Jordan is full, there should be a way to share, don't you think? Or is the problem really in who's got the most bucks to spend. 24 million could go a long way in helping pay for roads or schools or maybe even giving the teachers a raise. Trouble with water, the State of NC really truly believes it owns it & forgets where it comes from until it needs some. I guess there must not be any profit in selling it. Doesn't seem like NC is putting anything back into the system. Putting a statewide (or national) water system to help whoever needs it should be a priority.

  • dohicky Feb 29, 2008

    Leonardo, we bring up the drought because there is one and cities are already wanting (or already are) charging citizens for the cost of dealing with it.

  • dohicky Feb 29, 2008

    I thought there was a water shortage! Also, why spend taxpayer money for something where taxpayers have to spend money to use or join at a cost. Government spending gets worse and worse while normal people pay and lose.

  • Leonardo Feb 29, 2008

    You people bringing up the drought are crazy. First, the drought isn't going to last forever. It will be long gone by the time any of these pools are built. Second, Cary gets its water from Jordan Lake, which is currently 1 foot ABOVE full right now, so they don't have water shortage issues.

  • Voice of Reason 23 Feb 29, 2008

    This has been a many-year effort. I'm sure the pools wouldn't be built for quite some time. However, hopefully, the drought won't last forever, and you need to plan for what you are going to do then.
    If anything, Cary has been more responsible at water conservation than ANY other town in the triangle. We've had water restrictions for many years now, and we haven't outbuilt our water supply. What's our reward? Now, the irresponsible other cities are draining our water supply.

  • foetine Feb 29, 2008

    maybe Cary can build the world's largest Waterpark and car wash while they're at it.

    Aren't there enough pools in Cary? Does this town need to swim that badly? Or does Dr. Goodnight want one?

  • iron fist Feb 29, 2008

    Have the citizens of Cary forgotten about the water shortage? How do they plan to fill the pools. Seems to be more of the selfish and conceded ways of Cary. Business going under due to lack of water and they want to build more pools. Maybe the landscapers can spend their days swimming instead of working. No water, no grass, not trees, no need for landscapers. Not to mention car washes. KEEP SWIMIMING AND ALL WILL BE OK don’t a need job as long as they can swim.

  • jmurach Feb 29, 2008

    I new that they had no brains, just keep a building houses, apartments businesses and yes more pools so we can never get out of the drought.

  • Here kitty kitty Feb 29, 2008

    And the water to fill them will come from where?

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