PTC wonders: get a new bubble for Kedron fieldhouse or wait?
It’s almost time for Peachtree City to replace the plastic “bubble” that’s erected over the Kedron pools to keep them open year-round.
The flexible plastic device, kept afloat by a pressurized air system, is near the end of its usable life,
though it has lasted 15 years so far, more than double the initially pitched seven-year lifespan that was originally projected.
The city has extended the facility’s life numerous times by using multiple patches and other repairs to keep it running. Now, the new bubbles are said to last 15 years, officials said.
“Oh, we could get 30!” said Councilwoman Kim Learnard.
The city might look at extending the bubble one more year, costing at least $2,500 for the necessary consultant to handle that work.
The estimated replacement cost, which includes a new air handling system, is $250,000, and that’s a significant chunk in a tight city budget.
The upshot on finances is that with the increase of various fees associated with the pools, including those for the recreational and high school swim teams, revenue this year is $48,000 ahead of the same point last year, officials said.
If the bubble weren’t replaced, the city also would most likely lose out on not just team rental revenue, but also birthday parties that rent a room at the Kedron Fieldhouse and also go swimming at the pool, officials said.
There is a possibility that bank financing might or might not be available, and there is a significant lead time involved in ordering the bubble because it is custom made, said Leisure Services Director Randy Gaddo.
Even if that’s the case, the city has ample cash to fund the purchase out of its reserves, which aren’t earning much interest, officials noted. Councilman Eric Imker said using cash would save the city a significant amount of money on interest payments.
Imker noted that the city has about $8 million in reserves and is planning on spending excess cash reserves over the next several years to reduce them to about 20 percent of the city’s annual budget.
Imker also noted that the discussion about whether the city should or should not even replace the bubble would have to take place at a future council meeting.
Council is expected to consider the matter at an upcoming meeting as staff reports further details about possible financing options.
Funding for the bubble is even included as a specific question in the ongoing online citizen survey on the city’s website.