Several options remain for City’s community pools

Aquatics Board meets today

In this May 2017 photo, Juneau residents take part in a water aerobics class at the Augustus G. Brown Swimming Pool. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

The controlling power of the City and Borough of Juneau’s two pools may become clearer as the Aquatics Board meets for its regular meeting at 4 p.m. today at the Dimond Park Aquatic Center.

 

Talks have the surrounded the pools — Augustus Brown Pool downtown and the Dimond Park Aquatic Center (DPAC) in the Mendenhall Valley — since the inception of the Aquatics Board. The formation of the board occurred after talks of closing the Augustus Brown Pool in 2015. The CBJ Assembly decided to form the board as a way to run the pools more efficiently. The initial plan was to have the board last three years then reassess what to do with the pools. The board is set to end in May, but the Assembly can keep the board intact if its members want to keep it going.

Two public meetings were held in February and recommendations were taken from the public to the Aquatics Board for consideration. Today’s meeting is open to the public, but no public testimony about agenda items will be taken.

Currently, there are a few options the board has identified in regards to moving ahead. The board could dissolve as planned, or the Assembly could extend the board’s current situation and run the pools as they currently do.

Another option could change the board’s actual role. The board could be an “empowered” board which means it could hire and fire its own Aquatics Director and select members, instead of the Assembly.

The last option could allow a YMCA to take over controls. During a Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon last month, Max Mertz, the Aquatics Board chair, detailed the pools’ options and said the Anchorage branch of the YMCA is considering expanding to other communities around the state. Juneau could be one of those selected. If the YMCA comes into the mix, that would involve transferring the power of the pools to the nonprofit. There is also the possibility the city could contract with a nonprofit in town, form its own nonprofit or work with another out-of-town nonprofit.

The Aquatics Board originally slated a mid-March goal of giving the Assembly a recommendation on which direction to go.


• Contact reporter Gregory Philson at gphilson@juneauempire.com or call at 523-2265. Follow him on Twitter at @GTPhilson.


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