With very little discussion and minimal public comment, the Elk Grove City Council decided last night to move forward on a proposed aquatics center in what will eventually become the city's civic center.
The council decided to have city staff proceed with negotiations with the sole company determined qualified through the competitive selection process, the P3i/McCarthy/Harvest Family Entertainment group. As part of the negotiation, city staff determined that to make the project feasible, the city would provide the land for the project and a $14 million construction subsidy.
While it was unanimously agreed to proceed with negotiations, there were some concerns conveyed by council members.
Vice Mayor Steve Detrick said that while the construction subsidy is $14 million, it doesn't mean that all those funds need to be used. Detrick also stressed that the ongoing operations for the center needs to be a net-zero cost for the city and that the waterpark component of the center be aesthetically pleasing.
"This is going to be where our civic centers at, so it needs to be something pretty special," Detrick said. "I personally don't want to go out there and see plastic pipes for a water park."
The one public comment came from former city council member Sophia Scherman. Long an advocate for military veteran matters, Scherman urged the city to consider using any extra funds to build a veterans memorial hall.
"I would like to have you consider it because it is appropriate," Scherman said
Interestingly after Scherman left the speakers podium, Mayor Gary Davis thanked her, said it was nice to see her and invited her "to come back anytime." As she walked away Scherman said "No thank you."
Noting the council's consensus on the matter during their deliberations, Davis said the project will be an important addition to the city.
"This has the capacity to potentially be something that hosts Olympic trials in the future," he said. "There is an economic development component if it is done right."