Design plan to be drafted for Alpena pool | News, Sports, Jobs

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Courtesy Photo
This is the proposed design for the recreational amenities outside of the APlex in Alpena. The plan is expected to be trimmed down in scope, and the expected price tag is in the ballpark of $80 million.

ALPENA — The total estimated cost of the proposed expansion was announced on Tuesday at the Alpena County Board of Commissioners’ meeting and the dollar amount was an eye-popping $80 million.

However, the design plans were based on nearly all the components collected from design charrettes and a county-wide survey, which drastically escalated the cost.

A committee consisting of Alpena County Commissioner Robin LaLonde, a representative from Alpena, the Park Family Foundation, Alpena Public Schools, the county’s youth and recreation board, Alpena Community College, MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena, Besser Co., and many others are also working together on the proposed project.

According to LaLonde, a new design plan will be drafted which will include only a new community pool and amenities for it. The rest of the expansion projects would likely be completed in phases, as money for the remaining projects is raised.

LaLonde said the new set of designs for the pool itself will not cost Alpena County or other partners in the project any more money, as there was a redo option in the contract that promised a second design free of charge.

Courtesy Photo
This is the proposed design for the new community pool and other amenities at the APlex in Alpena.

Currently, Alpena County owns the Plaza Pool, which is located next to the Alpena High School and open to the public. It offers swimming lessons and open swimming and is popular with seniors and others who like working out in the water.

However, the 50-year-old pool has become obsolete, and prone to expensive repairs and maintenance, which often impact county finances.

A new community pool, not owned by the county, made sense to the commissioners because it would allow them to move on from the Plaza Pool and the headaches that accompany it.

“It was my assumption they were going to give us a cost estimate on the pool, but they included everything people said they wanted and obviously we aren’t going to be able to do all that at one time for that price,” LaLonde said. “This was just a preliminary design but they’ll go back to the drawing board and just do a pool.”

Outside of a competition swimming and diving pool, a recreational pool and splash area, a therapy pool, and several locker rooms were also included in the project.

That was still just the tip of the iceberg, as the design plan also included four softball fields, a large baseball field, three soccer fields, four basketball courts, and volleyball courts outside of the APlex.

There would also be an additional gymnasium with artificial turf inside, four more indoor basketball courts, golf simulators, and multiple physical fitness and workout areas.

“They included everything into this concept and, this is just my opinion, this needs to be reworked,” she said. “I think the pool is the thing everybody wants, but there are a lot of extras in here. I think they are all great ideas, but it’s not feasible to do at one time. Other improvements include a redesign of the parking lots at the APlex. LaLonde said the only thing she noticed that wasn’t included in the design plan was a proposed community garden in the middle of the circle parking lot.

“If this was all done it would be like another world unto itself, which is awesome, but just not possible, at least not now,” LaLonde said. “Maybe if we broke it up into more phases, that would be in Alpena’s best interest.”

There is a need for more gym space in Alpena, as local recreation groups often struggle to find gym space to practice or play in.


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