The long-term fate of the Riverside Swim Club is uncertain after a vote of its membership on Aug. 20 failed to gain a 51 percent majority in favor of a proposed $4.2 million renovation project.
Of the 479 families who belong to the club, 226, or 47 percent, voted in favor of the project, which was unveiled to members last month.
Just 16 members actively voted against the proposal. But it was members who didn’t vote at all — 237 — who decided the outcome. According to the club’s bylaws, any member failing to vote was counted as a “no.”
“What we’re taking away from this is that we have 226 families who view the club as being important enough to financially support its continued operation and renovation,” said Adrian Mendoza, who is president of the Riverside Swim Club board of directors.
But that support is short of what’s needed to make the dreams of a renovated swim club a reality. Now club officials are pondering what their next step will be.
“We’re considering what our alternatives are, but it’s encouraging to see 47 percent support the renovation,” Mendoza said. “We respect the result and have to figure out where to go from here.”
In the short term, there are no plans to fold the club, said Mendoza, and officials plan to re-open the pool as scheduled in May 2014.
“There are no plans to not operate the pool on an ongoing basis, but we understand that something needs to be done,” said Mendoza.
The Riverside Swim Club, a private club funded through member dues, was built in 1962 on land once owned by the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad. The two pools — the competition pool with deep-end diving area and a smaller, shallow-water-only “junior” pool remain much the way they appeared when they were built.
But much of the pool’s infrastructure is started to crumble. In 2005, the club commissioned a survey that revealed a host of code and condition issues, including cracks in the pool lining that were leaking hundreds of thousands of gallons of water into the ground annually.
Despite the survey, the club held off on repairs. Last year, a long-range planning committee was formed to work with an architectural firm and come up with a renovation plan, which was revealed July 23.
The plan called for a new eight-lane pool with an adjacent diving well and a separate junior pool with a zero-depth area and water features. But to fund the improvements, member families would have to come up with a lump-sum payment of several thousand dollars plus annual debt service payments of several hundred dollars, greatly increasing their contributions to keep the club running.
According to Mendoza, one strategy club officials likely will pursue is attracting new members interested in seeing the club survive. It won’t take that many more members to tip the scales in favor of renovation.
“The best thing for the club in light of our needs is how to drive membership levels up,” said Mendoza. “Increased member levels give us more flexibility on how to proceed.”