The Fredonia Town Council held a work meeting last week to discuss Fredonia High School’s request to use the town pool for a swim team. Community members from Kanab and Fredonia filled the council chambers to show their support of the proposal.

Fredonia Moccasin School District Superintendent Nicholas Bartlett presented the proposal to the council. He explained he had discussed with Killer Whales coach John Horlacher what would need to be done for the high school to have a swim team.

It was determined it would not be feasible for a team to travel to Hurricane for practices. Ideally, the Fredonia pool should be utilized. In order for it to be used, however, a covering of some kind would need to be placed over the facility to keep it warm through November.

The school district offered to purchase and install some sort of dome over the Fredonia pool if the council agreed to keep the facility open for the team to practice. The type of dome is currently being researched.

Mayor Scott Heaton expressed his support for the idea, but also his concern for where the funding to keep the pool open would come from.

Town Clerk TinaMarie Horlacher stated the current budget for the pool is $35,000. The majority of the budget is staffing. Propane from May 26 through August 3 has cost $7900. Because the pool is open to the general public, it is kept at approximately 80 degrees. If open solely for the swim team, it would be kept between 72 and 74 degrees. 

Horlacher believes the temperature difference, the use of a cover and the dome should drive the propane cost down.

Council member Jennifer Lukus asked Bartlett if the school would be able to help with propane costs as well. Bartlett stated at this time they would only be able to fund the dome, but may have more funding in the future.

The suggestion was made to keep the pool open to the general public to help generate the revenue to cover the cost of propane. Because of the high cost of staffing the pool, however, it would cost much more to keep the pool open than could be recovered. 

Town Manager Dan Watson explained Fredonia does not even break even with the pool, “it is a big hole we throw money in,” he joked. “We lose money on our pool, but it provides a service to the community, that’s why we do it.” 

Other suggestions were made by John Horlacher and Hernan Garreaud to use the pool for physical therapy, water polo, water basketball, water aerobics, etc… to help offset the costs. Bartlett also suggested making it available for private parties, so staffing would only have to be available if reserved.

Bartlett explained student participation on the swim team would not interfere with other sports. Much like track, athletes would be able to play other sports, such as basketball or volleyball, and be on the swim team.

Gary Mudrow asked when the town planned to expand the pool. He stated there had been discussions in the past about this and felt if a dome was to be purchased it should be able to accommodate the expansion.

Lukus explained that because of the deteriorated state of the current pool, it would not be practical to expand it.

Watson explained one of his goals is to obtain funding for a new pool. He has done extensive research on grants and funds, but there is very little available for pools and recreation. He said there had been a grant called the Heritage Fund, but Arizona swept it into its own general fund. The state also took $200,000 from Fredonia last year alone, so funding for a project of that magnitude is extremely difficult to secure.

Bartlett expressed his interest in a possible joint venture with the town for a new facility in the future, if funds become available.

The Fredonia Town Council will decide on the item at the regular meeting, as decisions cannot be made in work meetings.