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Outdoor aquatics update

Outdoor aquatics update
Posted on 07/18/2019

Over the last several years, the City of Lenexa has been taking a close look at our aging aquatics facilities to better address the needs of our growing and changing community.

Based on this research, city leaders have made the decision to close one local pool with significant structural challenges and explore many exciting potential options for the future of Lenexa’s aquatics system across the city.

The future of Ad Astra Pool

For some time, city leaders have been considering the future of Ad Astra Pool. Holding 840,000 gallons of water, Ad Astra is Lenexa’s largest pool – but it’s also our lowest-attended pool and the most expensive to maintain due to extensive physical problems.

  • The pool was built in 1988 on fill material, which has resulted in consistent, significant settling throughout the life of the pool.
    • Each season, mudjacking is required throughout the site, and underground pipe failures frequently occur due to the shifting.
    • Site settling has also required foundation repairs in the bathhouse, as well as additional piers to stabilize the structure.
    • The deck, drainage system and gutters had to be reconstructed, and separation of deck joints and significant cracking are ongoing issues.
    • In 2017, settling caused the complete failure of the wading pool.
  • The site design does not allow ADA-compliant accessibility from the parking lot to the pool.
  • The bathhouse is not ADA complaint, and its design forces visitors to access the pool through the restrooms. As a result, parents are often separated from their child when they must send the child through the locker room and restroom alone.

Major renovations – including both revitalizing existing amenities and extensive mechanical/structural repairs – were completed in 2002 and 2012. In spite of these repairs, site settling will continue to result in high maintenance costs and physical failures.

Rather than extensively repair or replace the pool on a structurally unsuitable site, city leaders determined it was most fiscally responsible to close the pool and replace it with another park amenity better suited to the location. Future options could provide water play and recreational opportunities for visitors of diverse ages through a blend of improvements.

Public input from stakeholders and neighbors will play a vital role in determining what park amenities will be built on the former pool site.

An in-depth look and forward vision for Lenexa’s aquatics system

To evaluate the condition of Lenexa’s pool system as a whole, Lenexa hired Waters Edge Aquatic design in 2018 to study each of the pools. In addition to evaluating the physical state of the city’s three outdoor pools, the study looked at each facility’s ability to meet the needs of Lenexa’s changing population in a fiscally responsible way.

The City Council accepted the study at its July 16, 2019 meeting. Rather than making any final determinations about the future of Lenexa’s aquatics system, the report offers an analysis of our current pools and options for responsibly enhancing aquatics offerings across the city to be considered by the City Council when making future decisions.

The study found that Lenexa’s outdoor pools were larger than average but lacked modern amenities, making them expensive to operate. They were also in need of structural improvements. These findings supported the decision to close Ad Astra Pool.

For cost estimation purposes, the study also presented a variety of scenarios for building, replacing or improving facilities, including regional splash parks and a centrally located water park.

Next steps

“Our first goal is to determine how to reinvest in the Ad Astra site,” said Lenexa Parks & Recreation Director Gary Ristow. “It will continue to be an important recreational amenity, and we want to engage Lenexa residents in helping to identify the right features for our community.”

A proposal to allocate funds to demolish Ad Astra Pool and replace the pool with new amenities will be considered as part of the 2020 Capital Improvement Program budget later this year. Flat Rock Creek Pool and Indian Trails Aquatic Center will remain open for the foreseeable future.

As funding becomes available and proposals are considered for the future of Lenexa’s aquatics system, the aquatics study’s findings – combined with public input – will provide a framework for determining what locations and types of aquatics facilities are best suited to meet the needs of the city as a whole.

Currently, there is no formal proposal, timeline or identified funding source to make other major aquatics facilities improvements.

The Lenexa City Council is committed to seeking public input as they consider ways to enhance the city’s aquatics system. Watch the city’s newsletter, e-newsletters and social media accounts for ways you can get involved in this process.

View the study final report