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Flint Hills Regional Transit Administration Interlocal Agreement
Posted: 02 February 2014 06:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Wynn, I can’t find anywhere on the site that says which hours the Marlins use or how much they pay.  I note that some days are off limits for rentals,  and that NO ONE can cause the pool to close during set public hours.

Is this true for the Marlins meets as well?

There seems to be a set fee for every use except “swim meets”.  Why would that be?

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Posted: 03 February 2014 04:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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The city will allow the pool to close for the swim meet.  That has been the norm for years.  I think the plan is to do that at least once this summer.  The Commission could vote to not allow that process.  If you think they should, sent the group a note and it can be put on the agenda.  Swim meet fees are not listed as you pointed out.  I was told that the fees for the meet are based upon the numbers in attendance.  I do not have a schedule or plan for swim meets for 2014.  I believe the Marlin’s were investigating the possibility of hosting an event.  I am not sure that I agree with closing the pool for a swim meet during normal public hours.  I know for sure I did not like the idea years ago, when it prevented my families use of the pool, during the old family pass days.

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Posted: 03 February 2014 05:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Wynn, It says right on the booking sheet that the city will NOT close the pool during public hours for private events.

So, now we’re back to acknowledging that the pool is a meet and practice facility for a private group with privileges denied to any of us other taxpayers, aren’t we?

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Posted: 04 February 2014 12:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Randal:  If the Parks and Recreation staff closes the pool for a Marlin’s swim meet in 2014 then it will be a case of the pool closing for a private group during public hours.  As I stated earlier, that was something I did not care for in the past.  It has however been the norm.  I think you are advocating that the swim meet should be denied or moved to the non public hours.  That can happen if the Commission determines to vote on the topic.  If the Commission does not determine to intervene (that will only happen if three of the Commissioners wish to discuss the topic in open meeting) then my assumption is that Parks and Recreation will do what has been done in the past and allow the meet to take place.  A fee will be imposed.  A large public outcry against the practice is not evident.  I have not received emails or phone calls demanding that the Marlin’s be banned from pool use.  You and Larry seem to be the main anti-Marlin players.  I tend to lean towards letting the Marlin’s have the swim meet, but during the morning hours, not during the public swim hours.  Will try generate some further discussion on the topic in the next few weeks at City Hall.

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Posted: 04 February 2014 12:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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My point is, Wynn, that the Marlins are allowed to use this tax-funded, state-of-the-art swim facility as their private facility.  They can have the public kicked out for their meets.  NO ONE ELSE in the city is allowed the same.  It says so in the link you provided.  Now, they’re planning a 3-day meet? 

Do you see my point?  You argue that it’s wasn’t built BY OUR TAX DOLLARS for the purpose of providing the Marlins a shiny new facility.  All evidence proves the contrary.

You need to hear this from more that “Larry and me” to do something about it?

[ Edited: 04 February 2014 01:16 PM by Randall Baughman ]
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Posted: 04 February 2014 06:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Randall:  The pool was not built for the Marlin’s , I am not going to buy that one.  If the City does let them hold a 3 day meet and close the pool, then you are on the money as to special favors.  If the use of the pools by the Marlin’s is that big a deal, then yes the Commissions needs to be informed.  As I said I do not like the idea of a 3 day closing for the event.  If you want that changed then make it a point to inform the five.  As a group they can take action.  Rest assured that I will cover the topic at our next get together.

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Posted: 04 February 2014 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Wynn.  I truly appreciate that there will be discussion about this. 

You say this pool was not built for the Marlin’s meets.  Riddle me this, then.  When the ENCLOSED hillside regulation lap pool at Cico was rejected by voters, and this one demolished and rebuilt,why was it built to these specs?  Has ANY other group used the pool for swim practice and meets?  Does ANYONE else in town get to use this state-of-the-art facility for lap swimming/competition?  Is ANY OTHER private club allowed to close it for their swim meets?

If not, then, whether you want to see it or not, it was built for that purpose, and that purpose only.  Why else would a city pool need to meet regulation length and size for lap swim?  Do you think we’d be having meets here if they had succeeded in hanging that enclosed pool on the taxpayers?  Think, Wynn.

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Posted: 05 February 2014 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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I do not know which group determined the specs for the pool.  I assume the Parks and Rec advisory board was involved.  I voted for the pools renovation QL bond in that election.  But I did not investigate the design specs.  The fact that it has the capability for swim meets seems logical.  I would not have designed a pool to purposely exclude the possibility of swim meet use.  The issue is not the design and use, but the timing or closure of the facility for such an event.  But, you make a solid point.  If the idea was to prevent the Marlin’s from having swim meets the pool could have been designed without that capability, so by including it that left the door open for various swim meets.  I think the advisor board supported the concept and that is why it was part of the design.    The item I would not have included is that massive surf machine, usable by one person at a time and requiring a dedicated life guard.

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Posted: 05 February 2014 03:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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The Marlins were part of the concept design for the current City Park Pool.  As there were community meetings to identify needs for the pool, The Marlins were presenters… were a party to those presentations.  We knew the pool was being designed to include the ability for The Marlins to host swim meets.  Some questioned, at that time, if those meets would exclude the general public from being allowed to share the pool.  IIRC, no one was bashful about suggesting that when meets were scheduled The Marlins would have priority over the general public and the pool would probably be closed to anyone except meet participants and associated folks. 
Yes, I even voted for the pool bond referendum.  We had been told, quite frankly and openly, that if the sales tax referendum did not pass the Commission would move forward with the pool and it would be levied against our property tax.  We had no option #3… a scaled back pool or no pool.
It is totally and completely ridiculous that a single group… many who don’t even live in Manhattan… weild the power this group does.  For how many years did they not pay their own way?  Once we finally got some commissioners to question the free use by The Marlins, we are now told they do pay a fee.  I can’t find anywhere in Finance Departmetn on-line reports where a specific revenue stream from The Marlins is indicated.  All we know is someone from P&R says they paid a certain amount.  How was that amount assessed?  Is the amount charged similar to what the KSU Natatorium charge this group?  Or, are they getting greatly reduced rates?  Why cannot meets be scheduled mornings and the public use the pool in the afternoons?  We’re having problems with the pools paying its own way.  Yet, we look at shutting off collecting admissions during meets?  Or, will the costs recovered from meet participants equal or exceed what the normal admission revenue would be for a given weekend day?
We’ve beaten The Marlins issue to death.  The current commission is stacked in favor of rolling out the red carpet for this group.  I just feel if that is the case, it would be beneficial to the citizens to see a transparent reporting process that itemizes what revenue we see from The Marlins, the hours they use the pool, and the number of participants in the group for which the entire pool is closed down to accomodate.

It really sounds like The Fieldhouse is alive and well and will end up being financed by the taxpayers of Manhattan.  Once we have that $54 million boondoggle to pay for, we’ll see how many additional privilieged groups are allowed free use of those facilities simply because of who the parents are or know.

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Posted: 05 February 2014 06:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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The family oriented parks of Manhattan will become a thing of the past if this new park structure is put into place. The idea of a neighborhood environment will be lost to special interest groups controlling every little thing that happens. Placing one type of sport miles away from the child needing it is not an answer. Taxing the properties in Manhattan for a park outside our city is not just an abuse of forced taxation it is just plain wrong. A threat of not passing a sales tax increase will end up raising property taxes is a form of tax abuse if not robbery. All of the jabber mouthing about all the money it will bring in I simply do not buy into. All the donated money that was from the Chamber that was part of the million from our tax dollars and the commission looked like an ostrich, head stuck and knowing nothing. Bull. Build your private parks on private properties supported by and maintained by private funds. Or we tax payers will end up with false tales just like the pool issue with special interests controlling. It is time to fess up and call a card a card. The fancy swim group said they would subsidize operational costs with lifeguard work.Well we all know how that worked out. Close the pools because there are no lifeguards to be found. Good plan, yeah right! I seem to remember an indoor facility was voted down last go round. Nothing has changed to consider it again.

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Posted: 05 February 2014 06:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Sorry, Dave, but there have been signficant changes since the QOL II bond referendum that was voted down. 
1.)  The Chamber did not have nearly the hold on local elected governments as it does today.  Nothing… NOTHING of consequence happens in City or County commission chambers that has not been vetted at the Chamber level. 
2.)  The Riley County Commission appears to be drooling to begin handing money to the Fieldhouse Group.  Some will question Riley County taxpayers funding the large soccer complex in Pott County.  Won’t make any difference.  Many of the Fieldhouse Group live ourside Manhattan and outside Riley County.  But, they are socially connected and this trumps common sense. 
3.)  The City Commission will tell us the Parks & Rec Department and their advisory board are in favor of the Fieldhouse Group plan.  That way the Commission can wash their hands of any decision making and cowtow to the Chamber backed elitists.  Of course the P&R are in favor of this monstrosity!!  Sheesh.  $2 million more/year in their budget to grow staff and resemes??!!??  Bigger and better offices.  Larger compelses to brag about. 
4.)  The Fieldhouse Group could care less about neighborhood parks.  Again… Research this group.  Their leader lives on snob hill in a million dollar home, far away from any existing park facilities.  Many of the others live in Wamego or Timber Creek.  They would just as soon see the soccer complex out on 24.  It’s handy for them.  The Fieldhouse Group is all about traveling teams.  It has nothing to do with what is good for the children of “blue collar Manhattanites”.

The best we can hope for would be to see the Fieldhouse project go before the voters.  I don’t see this happening.  The Chamber is pushing the elected bodies to move this forward and they will.

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Posted: 05 February 2014 08:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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The Parks and Advisory Board were directed to look at the surveys from the field house group and integrate anything of value into the CIP.  That is a far cry from support.  The City Manager and the CVB helped to finance that survey so we may as well use anything in it of value.  The project as they briefed it (the group) would clearly have destroyed our local parks – excellent point. 

In either case I do not support the Field House Plan.  A traveling team plan to use existing facilities is under review by the CVBs of JC and Manhattan.  The stated goal is to bring in some teams under the guise of Eco Devo.  The plan also does not include any property tax dollars, it is all a CVB effort.  It also does not involve rebuilt of our facilities.  That one is fine with me. 

When we voted on the pools, I did not recall the threat of they will be built anyway.  I was not on the Commission and did not pay as close attention.  I was for the pools, but did not look at the water park details idea.  I keep thinking about that one person surf facility, I was not for that thing.

Dave excellent comments on the Marlin’s, we have three champions for the cause.  I will be sure to further the discussion at City Hall.  I do agree that they should pay fees (they did last year), the fees should be the same as what others are charged.  The swim meet fees if the City/ Commission lets them close the pools, should cover the cost of a normal days operations - average gate receipts.

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Posted: 05 February 2014 08:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Here is a further update on my inquires at the City on the Marlin’s topic: (Information is from the Parks and Recreation Director) it confirms the comment on the Marlins having significant impact on the pool design.  It also confirms that the Marlins have reserved practice times (On an optimistic note - I assume this is a first come first serve issue and they got their request in first).  Here is the email from the Director:

Commissioner:

The Marlins are not a MPRD program though they did have a significant impact towards the design of the pool.  They do pay a fee to use the pool (app. $5000 in 2013) - Swimming lessons is the primary program that occurs before public use.  Other programs include water aerobics and on occasion scuba diving lessons.  All activities must work around swimming lessons and Marlins practice.

Another big factor in availability of the pools in the mornings is daily cleaning.  Each pool requires several hours of daily cleaning and chemical adjustments before any type of use.  This typically begins around 6am in order to be complete before swimming lessons.  At City Park Pool, cleaning occurs simultaneously with the Marlins practice.  Cleaning occurs in certain lanes while practice occurs in the other lanes and this is rotated on a regular basis.  City Park Pool is large enough for this to occur.  Cico and NV are not.

There is very little morning time for pool rental to occur once swimming lessons begin.  Until they do begin - typically 3rd week of June - space is available in the mornings between Marlins practice and public swim at noon.

Typically June 1 thru June 22 9am -11am would be the available time and yes there would be a fee to “rent’ the pool per our fee ordinances.  I might add, though, this time frame is not blocked out for rentals - with the amount of daily maintenance that the pools require, we commonly use this time frame to complete a variety of maintenance needs such as slide waxing, bubble side repairs (all too often), pool deck cleaning, touch up painting,  etc. so in summary - there is a short time frame at the start of the pool season in the mornings when the pools are not being utilized by swimmers but I am reluctant to lose this time frame as we often need it to address various repairs.

Director of Parks and Recreation

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Posted: 05 February 2014 09:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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So, is it time to stop this obtuse denial about why, and for whom,  the city pool was built?  The private swim team is the ONLY group that can keep the taxpayers out of the pool.  In the morning and beyond.

Right?

So, why all the denial? 

Let’s get this good ol boy crap out in the open.  It’ll never change if we don’t, and Manhattan has long-ago outgrown it.

Also, side question… why is the Parks and Recs. Advisory Board such a sterling, unimpeachable group, but the Social Services Advisory Board is attacked and belittled for pushing an “agenda”? 

I think the obvious answer is, one advocates for our tax dollars to go to providing practice/meet facilities for the children of the country club set, the other advocates that our tax dollars feed and house the children of the poor/working poor.

Let’s hear how that’s “just not the case” just one more time.  I just can’t get enough of it.

[ Edited: 05 February 2014 09:33 PM by Randall Baughman ]
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Posted: 06 February 2014 05:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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Wynn…
The Fieldhouse Group seems to be making regular presentations and updates to the County Commission.  They have that ear.  The County Commission is moving forward with forming the Public Building Commission… a means by which 3 individuals can spend millions on buildings and structures without having to get voter approval.  If the County decides to spend ~$50 million for the Fieldhouse Group they can move forward with the proposed building at CiCo and soccer fields in Pott County.  I can’t believe the current City Commission wouldn’t jump into the mix and try to get the Annenberg and City Park improvements done.  It would appear, on the surface, as if there was a split in financial responsibility between City and County.  We who live in the part of Manhattan located in Riley County would end up paying for both.
I don’t see the Fieldhouse Group even looking at a joint venture with Junction City.  Why?  With the Chamber and the County Commission pushing their agenda forward, they don’t need JC.  That would be 20 miles west they would need to drive to see their spoiled brats entertained. 
Wynn, I believe you take over as Mayor in April.  Is that correct?  I’d almost bet that you will see the Fieldhouse agenda moved forward during your term as Mayor… even though you don’t go along with it.  There is simply too much money and social/political power behind that movement.

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