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Merriam to mail out ballots as residents will decide on resolution to renovate or replace city pool

MERRIAM, Kan. -- A new pool and community center could be on the way in Merriam. On Monday, the city council passed a resolution to send mail-in ballots to the public to vote.

"The new one would have a variety, it would have indoor water, you would have outdoor water, there would be therapeutic water, there would be kids areas there would be an indoor walking track and full size gym and classroom space," said city administrator, Christopher Engle.

The city's current aquatic center has been around for decades. Staff said residents can vote for a new one or to renovate the current one. Conversations about the project began four years ago.

City staff estimates a new pool and community center, which would be located in the same space as the current pool, would cost around $30 million. They estimate upgrading the current site will cost around $20 million.

"When we started looking into this I made visits to Mission's pool and to The Olathe Community Center and I am truly amazed at how many families take advantage of the centers at night, and right now we don't offer any place for our families to do that," said Merriam's mayor, Ken Sissom.

The city said if the public votes in favor of a new pool there would be a one-quarter percent sales tax increase over the next 10 years. Staff said that would pay off the millions in bonds.

The ballots will be sent out in late August and need to be returned in September.