To the editor:
I have a few concerns about the proposed Kootenai Wellness Aquatic Center.
The cost, first stated to be as much as $5 million, has grown to as much as $10 million. Meanwhile, there are conflicting statements as to whether the project will be built in Libby or on Port Authority (county) property, which would determine who has liability, and how operational and maintenance costs are allocated. The pool, assumed to be used for competitive swim events, has only four lanes whereas all competitive pools must boast six.
Comparisons with Polson (pop. 4,875) and Whitefish (pop. 7,850) versus Libby (pop. 2,737) seem unrealistic. Funding for construction is described as coming from local donors and/or a single unidentified benefactor. The 68 surveys that supporters collected represent 2.5% of city residents, and not all of the attendees of the most recent presentation were in favor of the project.
The acronym of the project, when spoken aloud, is pronounced “quack.”
I would only be in favor of such a project if the prodigious benefactor(s) set the funding such that an interest-bearing operational and maintenance account were part of the deal, in an amount that could guarantee no tax levy in perpetuity. In addition, I believe that supporters haven’t made the effort to gauge countywide interest. They could do it via a survey mailed to every property owner.
Let’s get the horse in front of the cart, like it should be.