Arlington voters approved general obligation bonds in the amount of $45 million in a May 6, 2017 vote, to build an Active Adult Center. Current plans call for the facility to be across the street from the West Police Station, and located on the southwest corner of the current Pierce Burch Water Treatment site off of Green Oaks Blvd. (between W. Arkansas Ln. and W. Pioneer Pkwy).
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the Active Adult Center.
When will the center open?
The design phase of the facility will begin in 2019. The construction could begin in late 2021 which would result in a facility opening in 2023.
Why is the timeline so long?
In order to pay for large capital (construction) projects, cities sell bonds and use the money to pay for the projects. Bonds are sold to investors (bondholders) who are looking for a stable return in the future on the money they invest today. The City promises to repay the bondholders, with interest, over a specific time period (often 20 years). The bond repayment is funded through property taxes the City receives. Although Arlington citizens have voted for this bond, the City only has the capacity for a prescribed amount of bond sales each year based on debt capacity. Therefore the actual funding for the center will not be available until previous bond projects have been completed, and corresponding bond debt has been retired. Which capital projects are tied to a particular bond sale, and the order in which bond projects are completed, is determined by City Council.
Who can use the facility?
Facility membership will be for those 50 years of age or older. The general public may rent spaces within the facility after scheduled operating hours.
Will there be fees to use the facility?
Yes. Similar to other city operated recreation centers various fee options will be offered. These options will likely include an annual membership, monthly membership and a daily use fee. In addition those 65 years age and older will likely pay a reduced rate for facility membership. Fees for rental of spaces within the facility will also be required.
What amenities will be included in the new center?
Amenities of the recreation center could include full-court gymnasium, aquatics component for both water exercise and leisure, locker rooms, fitness area, walking track, multi-purpose rooms for educational programs/events or sedentary activities, special events space, outdoor patio. All amenities and program offerings will be determined by available budget.
Will this bond program raise my taxes?
No. The City carefully analyzes the capacity it has to issue debt from year to year without increasing the tax rate. Factors that influence debt capacity include how much debt the City currently has, how much the City is paying back every year (retiring debt), changes in taxable value of property in the City and the amount of the overall tax rate that goes toward paying debt. By analyzing these factors, the City can design a program that will only issue debt that can be repaid without any tax rate increase.
How was the location selected and were the design elements developed?
The location was chosen through an inventory of available city owned properties. The feasibility study, conducted by Barker, Rinker, Seacat Architecture, included three properties with the Pierce Burch site preferred based on its relative location in Arlington as compared to a similar senior recreation facility in Grand Prairie, the lack of current use of the site and its easy accessibility from the Green Oaks Corridor. The specific design elements that have been suggested for the facility were developed through public feedback from an online survey and three public forums conducted in November and December of 2015.