$26.3M Holland aquatic center bond would renovate, expand facility

HOLLAND, MI – The Holland Area Community Swimming Pool Authority is asking voters May 7 to support a $26.3 million construction and renovation bond for the Holland Community Aquatic Center.

The funds would go toward upgrades to the aging facility and expanding programs and services, according to Jack Huisingh, executive director of the aquatic center.

The 1.25-mill proposal is for 20 years. For a home valued at $150,000 with a taxable state equalized value of $75,000, it would cost $93.75 per year.

“The facility bond that paid off this facility is finished. We are asking voters to just continue with that same millage they’ve been paying for 20 years plus an additional .25 mills," Huisingh said.

“We want people to understand that the facilities that we have are 50 and 20 years old and renovation is really needed.’’

The facility was last renovated in 1998 and the six-lane pool was originally constructed in 1968.

Last May, voters approved a five-year millage renewal at the current rate to support building operations, but the new millage is for renovations and expansion.

Holland aquatic center seeks to renew tax for operations in May

The millage was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2013.

Huisingh said the facility, located at 550 Maple Ave., serves approximately 200,000 people a year between its community programs and services and competitive swim events.

“One of our biggest pain points through these years is when we can’t let the community in every single day throughout the day,’’ he said, due to competitive swim meets and instruction programs limiting access.

“We want to be able to have a separate place within the facility that has warmer water that’s focused on community wellness and fun, even if we are having instruction programs or a big, competitive meet.‘’

An additional six-lane lap pool, warm-water leisure access, updated wellness spaces, increased spectator seating and mechanical improvements would all be on tap with the expansion and renovation.

The bond would target enhancing and expanding three primary program needs: aquatic safety instruction, recreation and fitness, and training and competitions.

Huisingh said the upgrades will make the facility sustainable and appropriate for the next 20 years.

“We are trying to become one of the nation’s finest aquatic centers for community wellness and fitness, instruction, and competitive partnerships,’’ he said.

Huisingh said the new community area would be twice the size of the current area along with a three-story slide and lazy river. He said a new four-lane pool would occupy the current space.

Aquatic Center leaders have been hosting informational meetings to explain the need for the bond and answer questions. The next couple of session are scheduled for 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., Friday, April 12, and 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, April 13.

The Aquatic Center is a total of 86,745 square feet with competition, leisure, therapy, and instruction pools, as well as a fitness center and multipurpose and meeting rooms.

Once a month, Huisingh said the facility provides free resident appreciation days for non-members.

The standard rate is $8 but Holland Public Schools district residents receive a discount off the rate, so it would be $4.75 for a single visit.

Huisingh said Holland Public Schools and Holland Christian Schools lease space in the facility for their swimming programs.

The facility, which has always been funded by a construction bond millage, has a long history.

The Holland Community Pool opened in 1968 and was originally owned and operated by the Holland Public Schools district. Due to a statutory change that affected funding, it was decided in 1992 that another entity should take over operations.

State lawmakers passed a law allowing Holland to establish a swimming pool authority after the passage of Proposal A in 1995 prevented Holland Public Schools from having a separate millage for pool operations.

The Holland Area Community Swimming Pool Authority purchased ownership and operation of the community pool from the district for a $1.

The authority pursued a bond to finance an expansion and the Aquatic Center opened in 1999. The authority’s board is appointed by the municipalities that reside within the school district: Holland, Holland Township, Laketown Township, and Park Township.

Voters residing in the Holland school district boundaries are eligible to cast a ballot. If the bond is approved, construction is expected to begin in 2020 and conclude in 2021.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 7.

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