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New $11 Million Indoor Swimming Pools Included at Stafford Park


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.

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  • Joe Brito

    The Building and the pools were originally estimated to cost $7.3 M, but the Board decided to enlarge the project increasing the cost to $11 M.

    Embry Mill originally proffered to build between 4 to 8 ball fields, but the proffer was amended last year to provide land for the fields and pool. The proffer amendment allowed the developer to proffer about $2.8 M for parks in lieu of building the fields.

    The total cost of the ball fields and pool will be between $22 M to $28 M, so Stafford County taxpayers are paying the brunt of the cost for Recreational improvements that look more like a developer amenity than a public facility.

    The developer has chosen to finance the $2.8 M Park and Rec proffer using the CDA rather than paying for it out of his pocket. This is part of the public private partnership deal the Board made when they approved the CDA.

    While I don’t agree with this financing strategy. I do agree that the developer needs to pay for the impacts of the project.

    The approved proffers only have the developer contributing about $4.3 M for schools, but the school impact alone will cost Stafford Taxpayers about $58 M.

    The Parks and Rec bond referendum was to pay for improvements County wide. Why is almost all of the money being spent in the Northern part of the County?

    Why is the Infrastructure committee made up of supervisors that represent the Northern part of the County? The Southern part of the County has no representation, Why?

    • Tom Manley

      This is border line fraudulent representation. Did anyone on the board have a cozy relationship with the developer? Who investigates on behalf of the Taxpayer. The overrun should come out of board members compensation as a start and a reminder of the concept of service vs development as their primary responsibility.

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