112613 embrey mill park

Updated

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Stafford County residents will pay for the construction cost of a new indoor swimming facility at a new Embrey Mill Park.

The soon-to-be-built park will sit next to a new housing development of the same name bringing nearly 2,000 new homes to the region.

The Embrey Mill Indoor Recreation Center will include three indoor pools at the cost of $11 million. Adjacent ball fields and a park that will sit next to indoor swim facility will drive up the total cost for the park another $10.5 million, according to county officials.

Aquia District Supervisor Paul Milde the park and the indoor swimming center will help improve the quality of life for Stafford residents.

“It’s not an $11 million pool,” said Milde. “It’s an entire rec center. We are told, and I am convinced, it will make us competitive regionally… I believe it will generate some revenue to mitigate the costs… it made sense economically.”

The 76,000-square foot facility will include three swimming pools: a 50 meter x 25 yard foot wide competition pool with space for 300 competitors and include a movable bulkhead with seating for 800 spectators. Next to it will be a smaller warm up pool with a depth of 3.5 and 4.5 feet, and an 810 square-foot wellness pool with warmer water and therapeutic features, county documents state. The recreation center will also have a basketball court, aerobics studio, spinning room, classrooms, locker rooms, and offices.

Board Chairman Susan Stimpson voted against the center and said more could have been done to lower the cost of the facility by getting private business involved.

“One of the things we were hoping for was that private sector was going to donate to this pool, but instead the plan just got hi-jacked and it become a government project,” said Stimpson.

Talks that were underway with a local YMCA organization that would support the pool have now halted, said Stimpson.

As the swimming facility nears completion, Stafford County will search for someone to operate and maintain the pools.

“The County will send out a request for proposal (RFP) to the public asking for proposals to operate and maintain the indoor recreation facility. Those proposals will be evaluated for selection,” stated county spokeswoman Shannon Howell in an email.

The park and the indoor recreation center will be located on Courthouse Road across from Colonial Forge High School and will include lighted rectangular fields for youth soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey.