Jamy Prokopec, Syracuse Aqua Center Manager, approached Syracuse City Council at their Sept. 12 meeting to discuss the need for a new bathhouse. A grant exists that could provide significant funding for the bathhouse, and a volunteer has stepped up to write the grant.
However, in order to apply for the grant, they need an engineering report (blueprints) with a cost estimate, and that has not been done for several years.  
Prokopec presented City Council with many comments from community members on the need for a new bathhouse.  Reasons include slippery and cracked floors, crumbling walls, lack of privacy, limited hot water to the showers because of how long it takes to run through the piping, lack of handicap accessibility in the bathhouse, and a variety of other issues that Prokopec noted could be corrected with a new bathhouse.
Additionally, a committee of community volunteers has formed in order to assist Prokopec in whatever is needed for fundraising and planning.  Because the grant may not exist next year, the engineering report would be the next step.
Council member Alan Britton commented that they all agree a new bathhouse is needed, but it cannot happen that fast; the timeline was unrealistic in his opinion.  
Money has been set aside each year for the project, and that reserve is around $150,000.  At this time, though, City Council did not approve moving forward with the engineering report.
Mayor Tomas “KC” Ortiz said that they would like a new bathhouse, but city employees are already strained with other priorities.  
He didn’t feel that it was something they could take on at this time.  
However, he suggested that Prokopec and her committee to review the prior plans that were drawn up several years ago and make any proposed changes to them.  
Then, having a starting point would make obtaining an engineering report much less expensive and exhaustive.
Mayor Ortiz noted that the Nebraska City pool house was $400,000, so it might not be unrealistic to estimate that one for Syracuse could be done for $350,000.  
According to the information presented to city council, the available grant pays less than half of the project up to $200,000.  Therefore, the fundraising required of the committee could be less than $25,000.
Though nothing was approved by City Council, the community volunteer group has already met and began working on ideas for fundraising and planning in order to make progress towards getting a new bathhouse for the Syracuse Aqua Center.
 A public open house will be held Oct. 26 from 6-8 p.m. at the Syracuse Public Library in order to receive input from the community on ideas for the bathhouse.