Elk Grove Moves Forward With Aquatic Centers, Mayor Says It Could Host Olympic Trials Someday

With very little discussion and minimal public comment, the Elk Grove City Council decided last night to move forward on a proposed aqua...

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." 

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Joe Taxpayer said...

People! Connect the dots! Revenue bonds to pay for the soccer stadium and revenue bonds to pay for the $14 million construction subsidy for the aquatic center. Revenue bonds don't require voter approval. Revenue bonds=debt that must be paid back from the facility revenues (keep in mind the facility owners are not gonna step aside and let us have all the revenue!). If the facility revenue is deficient-bond payments must be guaranteed by the budget General Fund (i.e. the people's money). All this without a single vote of the people.

Meanwhile, the state Democratic majority is considering a constitutional amendment to make it easier for state and local government to impose new taxes. The law currently requires 2/3 majority voter approval; proposed amendment could impose new taxes with just a simple majority (or something less than 66%).


Anonymous said...

Who is "P3i/McCarthy/Harvest Family Entertainment group?" In doing a search I can't seem to find anything listed under this name. Now Harvest Family Entertainment does have some negative reports listed, but leaves me just a little confused about the company as listed by the city. Maybe someone with more expertise can help me out here.

SteveB6509 said...

Thankfully, this process merely allows negotiations to proceed. There is nothing that says the City Council has to approve anything in the end. Since this is such a major project, I would request that the City give the public 30 days to review the Staff Report and Proposal after negotiations are completed.

Connie Conley said...

While there was a push for the aquatics center over the sports complex, public comment and emails have stressed to the council to do a complete study on the operating costs, insurance, maintenance, etc., before the aquatics center project moves forward.

Other cities’ aquatic centers operate at a loss, some into the millions of tax dollars every year. Our own Wackford Center is an example of that, not millions; but the fact is, it doesn’t pay for itself. Other cities had to raise taxes to keep their aquatics centers open.

And the future aquatics center, by the comments last night, it is going to be designed to make the Wackford look like a kiddie pool. It’s good to think big but at what price?

It is all well and good that the city council wants a full package deal with the operator signed; but there are no assurances whatsoever what will happen if the operator loses money, or worse, goes bankrupt, walks away and we taxpayers are left holding the bag.

Can’t happen? We only have to look at General Growth Properties, and all their promises of grandeur for our mall.

The Elk Grove City Council needs to tread water here. . .

Connie said...

Off topic a bit, but it concerns money being spent.

Last night, it was glossed over about all the E-tran buses that need to be replaced. The council was so eager to start our own transit system, they purchased used buses; 10 million dollars worth have been in the bus graveyard for years.

Staff is looking to apply for a $500K grant to purchase new buses, but has to put up the money first and then if the grant is awarded, we get the $500K reimbursed. Don’t quite understand that one.

But the thing is, our citizens rely heavily on E-tran – and good for them for using public transportation. But if our used buses all need to be replaced, or are put out of commission because they no longer meet transit standards or are rendered unsafe; since our transit system was never designed to be a revenue generator, where is the money going to come from if we don’t get these grants?

And cutting routes is not an option; the council tried that once before and it left residents stranded.

I don’t think $500K is enough to replace the entire fleet.

Anonymous said...

The more I listen to our city councils discussions and decisions it appears they're all drinking that rainbow flavored Kool-Aid out of the same glass. Early on I heard much about trying to fix our Jobs imbalance.....now nothing but, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND. I think they have lost interest in a fix for EG and their campaign promises, it's on to big and better things in the future and who doesn't enjoy spending other peoples money? I would actually find that a BLAST!

Apathy Sucks said...

Like little kids playing with their toys, when the budget reserve is all gone, they'll have to get down to the business of governing a city instead of throwing our money at everything.

Billy Bats said...

If I am not mistaken, in the past the city build up it previously impressive reserve in large part by the various fees it charged? Now that the fees have been lowered or outright eliminated, where is all the money that have been drained from the reserves going to come from?

Anonymous said...

Billy Bats, it will come (at a reduced rate as you say) from pushing the pro-growth agenda into the SOI, like a great big Ponzi scheme--hoping the developers keep building. Once we slow down, the money starts dwindling away. Live from year to year and issue bonds for the rest.

Lynn said...

I am hopeful and remain ever hopeful that people in our community will begin to take in what is happening. I encourage all to attend a council meeting. You won't receive school credit as our high school young people do, however it is an evening of entertainment(believe me not free every tax payer is contributing), but an opportunity to participate in democracy at the local level. Our elected officials are spending your monies! Are their decisions representative of what you want?

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

All of the comments here are quite valid.

I was disappointed that former councilwoman Scherman's idea for a veterans hall was not seriously considered in the time leading up to this decision about our civic center and this aquatic center.

Not only is it shameful how some of our newer combat veterans, especially those in need of health care, are treated by our government, nobody seems to care in Elk Grove about the sacrifices these young women and men have made over the last 12 years.

I rarely supported Ms. Scherman during her tenure on the council, but it cannot be said she didn't advocate for the recognition of the numerous veterans in our city. It is too bad this opportunity to recognize the contributions of veterans is being forsaken for some "plastic tube" water park.

Michael Monasky said...

It is of no small significance that neither council members nor staff at the council meetings are veterans.
They have no interest in the USA blood shed in the US military.
They choose to shower adulation on major league sports figures (nee: Beckham.)

Anonymous said...


Perhaps you'd like to take a drive with me to my father's grave? Col. Harlan Hume is buried in my family's plot alongside (among others) his great uncle buried in the mid 19th century, including some relatives dating back to the Spanish - American war. He, his brother and his father all are veterans from foreign wars. How dare you make such a brash and unfounded statement. Shame on you! The veteran's hall is very much alive for future components of the civic center. This vote wasn't an either/or scenario...

-Pat Hume

Silent Dogood said...

I know for a fact that Steve Detrick's father was a proud US Marine.

I also thought I heard somewhere that Gary Davis served a couple of years in the USMC Reserves.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to Mr. Hume, Michael Monasky has asked several times at the podium during council meetings if any of the council themselves served in the military to make a point during the appointment process.

He never asked about family members, so the "shame on you," shows a bit of a temper here.

Anonymous said...

Ouch! Some people seem to have gotten a little bent out of shape.

I believe Mr. Monasky was referring to the current sitting council members, not their family members. So if "Silent" is correct, then only Mr. Davis has actually served some type of military service.

I suspicion that Mr. Monasky is a military veteran, which to me gives his commentary and opinion a lot more weight than any of four current council members.

Anonymous said...

Correction...let's be perfectly clear here...MR. DAVIS HAS NEVER SERVED IN ANY CAPACITY IN THE US MILITARY....AND ANY SUGGESTION THAT HE HAS IS SIMPLY A RED HERRING FOR THIS DISCUSSION. Now, back to the discussion about the lack of respect shown by this council by failing to mention the possibility of a Veteran's memorial hall/building in/around the civic center.

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