LINDON — Lindon residents said they would love a pool, basketball courts, aerobic rooms, a walking track, hot tubs and meeting rooms in a dream recreation center.

But rather than build a $20 million center immediately and increase taxes, the City Council opted to go forward on a more financially feasible outdoor aquatic center, a proposal they presented to residents this week.

Brent Tippets, with VCBO architecture, explained to nearly a dozen residents the city's preliminary plan to start building an $8.1 million pool in 2008.

"This is a big step," he said. "I hope that everybody's excited about the opportunities that are here."

Phase One, as it's being called, is the result of a 2005 Dan Jones & Associates poll that found 66 percent of respondents wanted additional recreational facilities and 89 percent of respondents said they would support constructing a facility if no new taxes were required.

So rather than build the entire recreation center immediately, Lindon decided to take a slower, more financially prudent route.

"The concept of phasing is really important to us to make sure we're not spreading ourselves too thin," said Councilman Eric Anthony. "We know we can't do everything at once."

So they're looking at a 10,000-square-foot outdoor leisure pool, with a six-lane, 25-yard competition pool, a warm-water play area with a depth of 4 feet, slide, lazy river and plenty of deck space.

The pool, just northeast of the City Center, would be open for 14 weeks, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and hopefully pull in about 10,288 visitors a year.

However, several residents expressed concerns about the ongoing costs of the facility. Annual operating costs for the pool would be just over $202,000 with revenue projected at $141,400, the gap covered by sales tax.

"Lindon has quite a distinction, in terms of sales tax generated per capita, in fact it is probably the second largest sales tax per capita, right behind Salt Lake City," said Jason Burningham, who has been contracted to provide financial consultation. "We've seen the city and community develop, and we've certainly seen a strong sales tax base."

He said it's not unusual for cities to subsidize their recreation facilities, and Lindon's requirement of around $60,000 is not too unusual or draining.

Resident Mary Call expressed a concern that the recreation center would pre-empt other city facilities.

"Are we going to sacrifice other parks, our open space to take care of the ... facility here?" she asked.

City staff assured her that no parks would be sacrificed for the aquatic center, but perhaps amenities such as lighting or new benches would be delayed as the city pays for the center.

Before the public hearing, Tippets presented his findings to the City Council and explained projected costs and anticipated number of visitors.

Orem and Pleasant Grove each have their own pool facilities, but as they get more crowded, it's possible Lindon will become attractive to neighbors.

Tippets encouraged the city to think about creative programming, to increase participation and generate more revenue.

"Again, I've been fairly conservative with these numbers," he said. "There's a strong possibility that the numbers will be much improved with proper operation and programming. Your expenses will be fairly standard, but the revenue side — you have an opportunity to improve that."

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