Council Roundup: New aquatics concept unveiled to council
by Michael Langley
Mar 20, 2014 | 5413 views | 6 6 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city staff revealed a new concept for water recreation in the city at the regular meeting of the City Council on Tuesday.

During an agenda item about whether to negotiate with Wild Rivers LLC of Irvine to build a water amusement park at the proposed Ellis subdivision, Director of Development Services Andrew Malik told the council about a new idea to add better aquatics amenities at three sites in town. He identified three community needs for any aquatics solution: recreation, instruction and competition.

The council asked the city staff during the regular council meeting Sept. 17 to explore possible agreements with Wild Rivers and The Surland Cos., developer of Ellis, for a public-private partnership for an aquatics center. Malik did not mention any further negotiations with Surland but did say Wild Rivers was actively trying to address the community’s needs.

“They were very open to working with this council, this city and stakeholders alike, to see if there could be a mix of amenities that could work,” Malik said.

Wild Rivers preferred the Ellis site, at the northeast corner of the project on Corral Hollow Road north of Linne Road, because of its proximity to homes and freeway access.

“With Wild Rivers being very flexible on amenities there may be an opportunity through further negotiations to address those three elements through the community by capitalizing on sites like the Ellis site, West High pool and possibly Joe Wilson (pool),” Malik said.

Molly Lowe, the president of the Tracy Tritons swim team, was one of five members of the public who spoke out about the concept.

“You are changing the whole direction,” Lowe said during the public comment period. “I’m absolutely disgusted. I’m furious. I have spent the past nine years involved in this process to bring a swim center to this community. How many different ways do we need to tell you and staff that Joe Wilson Pool will not, will never meet our needs in the community.”

Lowe, who said she was hosting a swim meet with 800 kids, added that the Tracy Unified School District had placed so many restrictions on using the pool at West High that it was barely useable.

“We’ve told you that West High pool will not meet USA Swimming requirements. You have had experts, brought in by Surland, that will tell you that the West High pool, because of the cutouts of ADA requirements, make it ineligible for USA Swimming regulation meets,” she said.

Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel said he still wanted a 50-meter competition pool at the Ellis aquatics center, but he wanted to move forward and negotiate with Wild Rivers and explore the staff concept at the same time.

“The Joe Wilson site — it would be very nice to be able to upgrade that. We still need to know what it would take, what it would cost,” Maciel said.

Councilwoman Nancy Young said she favored having options for people all over town, adding that some in the community might be able to better afford the entry fees at community pools. Young added that she wanted the center at Ellis to match the neighborhood.

“My one concern, as far as Wild Rivers building this in the Ellis area, my concern has been the character of the facility. And making sure it that it goes with the community and it doesn’t look like a big amusement park stuck in the middle of houses,” Young said.

Councilman Charles Manne said he just wanted something to happen soon.

“These conversations just seem to be restarting. It’s really time to move,” Manne said. “If we are going to get this right, it’s going to include obviously all of the stakeholders.”

Manne made a motion to approve beginning negotiations with Wild Rivers, which was seconded by Councilman Robert Rickman. The council voted unanimously to move forward.

Malik said the staff would bring the three-site swim concept back to the council at the April 1 regular meeting.

Council selects search firm for city manager

The council also voted unanimously to hire executive search firm Peckham & McKenney of Sacramento to find candidates for the next city manager. The council terminated the contract of City Manager Leon Churchill on March 5.

Interim City Manager Maria Hurtado had recommended three firms for consideration by the council: Peckham & McKenney, Bob Murray & Associates and William Avery & Associates.

Ives said he had a positive personal experience with Peckham & McKenney and recommended the firm to the rest of the council.

The city will pay Peckham & McKenney $24,500 for the search.

Police chief to act as assistant city manager

Hurtado also informed the council that she had appointed police Chief Gary Hampton to be acting interim assistant city manager.

She said Hampton will fill the role for three months, and then she will rotate another city department head into the position for another three months until the council hires a new city manager.

• Contact Michael Ellis Langley at or 830-4231.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
March 21, 2014
Well, here we go again.

The Tritons want a competition pool but they don't want to pay for it. Why does the City have a responsibility to build a competition pool specifically for the Titans? If they had a competition pool, for their use, what else would we use it for? Mayve they should consider building and operating their own competition pool, rather than waiting on the City to build it for them.

Besides, if the Tritons continue to wait for the City and Serpa to build them a pool, they will be waiting forever. This whole thing has been going on since Ives first ran for office. Maybe when he leaves office this entire matter will go by the wayside.

Also, why doesn't Maciel take a side and stand up for what he thinks is best?

"Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel said he still wanted a 50-meter competition pool at the Ellis aquatics center, but he wanted to move forward and negotiate with Wild Rivers and explore the staff concept at the same time."

Pick a side Mike! If you want to be Mayor you need to stop trying to please everybody.

March 21, 2014
I meant Tritons.
March 21, 2014
First, Tracy gets HELL HEAT in the summer. Why wouldn't a city as hot as this one have lots of pools for the community to enjoy. I'll gladly give my share of tax dollars for a competition pool. We should be grooming great swimmers in Tracy. We need a water park like the old one that use to be in Manteca. Yes, competition pool built with love like the new Tracy High Football stadium. Have you ever had to go and wait for your child to finish swim lessons at West sitting on the bleachers in that sun? Competition pool, now with a covering to block the Hell Heat.
March 22, 2014
My point is this. If the Tritons want a competition pool they should fund, build and operate it so there are no strings attached. Keep in mind if you let the City get involved in building, funding and operating the pool they will have their hands in the till.

A pool, if done right, could be a money making venture here in Tracy and I think the Tritons will be waiting forever if they continue to wait for the City to build it. Every day that goes by waiting on the City is a day of lost opportunity for the Tritons.
March 24, 2014
I agree with you rayderfan. It appears to me that the Triton's are waiting for the city to build a competition pool just for them AND the taxpayers are going to have to pay for its upkeep and insurance. We all know if a competition pool is built it won't be available to the public. Nope, Triton's will be using it to practice during swim season and during the winter it will be too cold for anyone to go swimming.

Yep, if the Triton's want a pool, get their members parents out to build one, pay for maintenance, security, insurance, and grounds upkeep.
March 21, 2014
I understand the swim folks' frustration with this whole process that has dragged on for years. I was just wondering though if the various swim teams have ever thought of getting together to form some sort of non-profit foundation to help raise funds and/or apply for federal and state grants that could be applied towards assisting in either building a swimming pool that meets their needs or to make the necessary changes to the pool at West High in partnership with the Tracy Unified School District to make it more conducive to their needs rather than counting on the City and developers to foot the entire bill? A great example of that is the Grand Theater Foundation created by civic-minded folks which helps raise money to assist in promoting the arts at the Grand Theater, which is a City asset.

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