Stateline residents want pool at Kahle Center |

Stateline residents want pool at Kahle Center

Jeff Munson, Tribune News Service

A group of Stateline residents looking to fund a swimming pool at the Kahle Community Center has been told by county officials that expanding an assessment district is not a viable option.

The group, which includes former Olympic swimmer Dave Fairbank and Douglas County Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kelly Gardner, hopes to see a pool within the next five years.

“There’s a lot of interest to finish phase three and right now we’re looking at different options,” Gardner said.

In the mid-1980s, Carson Valley residents voted to tax themselves in the form of an assessment district, the East Fork Swimming Pool District, to pay for the Carson Valley Swim Center. Expanding that district is an option but new laws would make it more difficult, said Scott Morgan, community services director for Douglas County.

“It would take a lot of time to get a Phase 3 going through an assessment district because there are so many loopholes now,” Morgan said. “I don’t think the people (who want the pool) want to wait that long.”

Also, when the pool district was created, it didn’t have the backing of Stateline residents, so some animosity might still exist, said Kirk Chiapella, director of the Carson Valley Swim Center.

“They want to fast-track a pool at Kahle Park and asked if the district could operate it,” Chiapella said. “What they were told was that there’s no real possibility for that.”

The first phase of the Kahle Center near Kahle Park was finished in 1995 and the second phase was completed last year.

The Kahle Center is unique because a property tax wasn’t assessed to fund it. About 75 percent of its operational budget comes from user fees, while remaining funding comes from money collected from room and sales taxes, Morgan said.

However, a bill that passed in the 1999 Legislature took 65 percent of room taxes away from the county and sent the money to casinos to fund promotions. That took a bite out of plans to finish the Kahle Center, Gardner said.

Other options include fund-raising and seeking a private donor. Even if money is raised by the private sector, a pool will have to have an annual operational budget, Morgan said.

Another option is to add the pool to a ballot measure being considered to fund a county community and senior center. Getting voter approval might be the only way to get a pool built in a timely manner, Gardner said.

“There’s interest and options out there,” she said. “We’ll just keep going until we find the right option.”

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