Indoor aquatic facility comments
Four Manhattan residents spoke about their desire for an indoor aquatics center during the city commission meeting Tuesday.
Referring to a 2014 survey, local business owner and longtime K-State Natatorium user Tracy Anderson says the desire is shared by many in the area.
“47 percent of households identified a need for an indoor aquatic facility,” Anderson said. “34 percent of households indicated less than 50 percent of their needs were being met from an indoor aquatic facility. 37 percent of households indicated zero percent of their needs were being met.”
Anderson suggested the city take action by conducting a project feasability study.
Fellow resident Chris Spooner shared Anderson’s sentiment, saying some of his fondest memories were made spending time with his kids at pools in other communities.
“It was an important asset in the many communities that we have lived in as they grew up,” Spooner said. “I know that, as Tracey referenced the absence of that space, there are others in the community that would certainly benefit from access to a public indoor water facility.”
While Manhattan does have multiple outdoor pools, the Natatorium served as an all-seasons swimming option for local residents.
K-State announced the facility’s closure in March, citing ventilation and maintenance issues.
The commission unanimously approved the master plan for a new park.
Stonehaven Park sits on about 15 acres of land located near the intersection of K-18 and Miller Parkway.
Its main feature is the 3-acre Bayer Pond, which is named after the family that donated the surrounding property.
While the park is in the early stages of development, it could eventually feature a playground, trails, fishing docks, benches, restrooms and a shelter.
Construction costs are estimated to be around $826,000.
However, the price could go down depending on how quickly projects are pursued and whether the city uses in-house labor.
For photos and more details about the Stonehaven Park master plan, click here.
Community Development Block Grant Program funding
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development has allocated about $534,000 to Manhattan as part of its Community Development Block Grant Program.
The funding, distributed on an annual basis to help fund projects that “benefit low to moderate-income individuals, families and neighborhoods,” has dropped by tens of thousands of dollars in recent years.
City commissioner Mark Hatesohl questioned during the City Commission meeting Tuesday why funding has dropped so much.
“Does that mean we’re winning the war on poverty and low income?” Hatesohl asked.
City officials suggested multiple reasons, such as the availability of CARES funds and entrance of additional cities into the CDBG program. They acknowledged, however, that funding is largely dependent on Congress allocates the federal government’s budget each year.
During the same discussion, officials explained that an income-based formula dictates whether certain parts of Manhattan qualify for CDBG funds.
Commissioner Linda Morse expressed concern that a part of the Northview neighborhood is not included among the qualifying areas.
Eric Cattell, Community Development director, explained that this could change as data from the recent census comes in.
For more details about Manhattan’s involvement in the CDBG Program, click here.