Bringing members back to Graydon , Graydon grassroots group Preserve Graydon Committee (PGC) said at Wednesday night's village council work session. Rather, said former Chair of the Preserve Graydon Committee Suzanne Kelly, "It's the water, the water, the water."
"That is where Village money would be spent most effectively," Kelly stated to the council in a prepared statement.
Along with current Preserve Graydon co-chair Marcia Ringel, the two swiped at the council's decision to install a large raft in the northeast corner of Graydon at the recommendation of Parks & Recreation Director Tim Cronin.
"The venue is wrong," Ringel said. "We do not deny that the Wibit looks like fun. But there are countless reasons to think twice, and that is what we urge you to do before installing it."
She expressed concerns that there would be a lack of swimming areas with the six-piece 50-foot long Wibit occupying the pool, also noting that she believes lifeguards' time would be used ineffectively; there would be a perception of safety concerns; process was sudden and poorly communicated by the village; aesthetics were not in line with open space; and wondered if the council were so interested, maybe they could rent a Wibit short-term to see how it worked out?
The most vocal proponent of the plan, Deputy Mayor Tom Riche, said on April 6 that "we [the council] would be doing a terrible, terrible disservice if we don't get this."
The device, which would be anchored into the sand and require a lifeguard to supervise it full time, will cost the village around $12,000. During the presentation to the council two weeks ago, a representative of a local sports company said kids flock to the Wibit areas and he's seen membership increase by 30 percent in some places.
The council members seemed excited about the prospect of bringing new revenue to the pool, which has struggled to retain members and has been considered by many to be a 'sunk' cost though it saw a stark jump in the 2010 season, which featured lots of fun and sun.
Kelly questioned the numbers presented by the salesman two weeks ago, asking aloud if other factors could have contributed.
"But has it been proved that the Wibit, not other factors, such as nice weather or better advertising accounted for this increase?" she asked.
Ringel pointedly remarked that there had been a lack of notice to the public and it had not been mentioned at various committee meetings.
Kelly asked if the other location has a portion of its population jilted by the water quality of the facility.
"We strongly doubt that people who consider Graydon’s water not clear and clean enough, will change their minds just because a plastic playground was installed in the pool."
The former co-chair, who stepped down a few months ago due to time commitment issues, said the biggest issue is the village not having the proper amount of aerators at Graydon, cited in the recent past to be a budgetary issue.
The pool currently has two aerators–one under the T-Dock and the other in the four-foot raft line on the Linwood side–when the recommended number by the manufacturer was three in a triangular configuration.
Kelly said she had suggested that "a small cement raft" be built in the center of Graydon.
"A lifeguard chair could be anchored to the top of this concrete raft as well. PVC piping could be extended from the four-foot raft to Graydon’s center, easily relocating the aerator." The cost, per Kelly's remarks, were estimated to be $6,000 by Village Engineer Chris Rutishauser.
"This requires money. Since funding is limited, the money should be spent on continuing to improve the water quality, which will happen if all three aerators are installed at the recommended locations for maximum effectiveness."
Ringel said she polled other community members to hear their thoughts on the 'The Night of Wibit'. The responses?
"They variously called the plastic playground 'a monstrosity,' 'an enemy of open space,' 'a water park,' 'a nightmare,' 'weird,' and 'Las Vegas,'" Ringel said. "Even someone who prefers concrete pools said the Wibit looks like 'a Thanksgiving Day parade balloon drowning in the water.'"
Mayor Killion, reached Thursday morning, said the council "is concerned about the safety of residents" and "we're going to take appropriate action to ensure the safety of everyone using Graydon."
The measure did not require a resolution because it was under the minimum bid threshhold. The sand-bottom lake will open the weekend of June 4-5 and it was expected the Wibit would be ready by opening day.