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FARMINGTON — A new Brookside Pool facility could cost between $3 million and $5 million and would likely not open until 2019 at the earliest, according to engineers hired by the city of Farmington to explore options for replacing the 60-year-old pool.

Farmington closed Brookside Pool last year for health and safety concerns related to the pool's aging infrastructure. The city has not yet decided whether it will pursue building a replacement pool. Mayor Tommy Roberts said the city will start discussing projects for the upcoming fiscal year in May.

Councilor Nate Duckett said a new pool is an important project for the city and could create summer jobs for youth in the community.

"Now, of course, the question is how do we fund this," he said.

City officials have said taxes will not be raised and programs will not be cut to pay for a replacement pool. One option for funding the new pool is refinancing existing debt. During a City Council work session today, Roberts said the decision about whether to build a new pool will be based on projections for the local economy in the upcoming years.

The city has four options for the replacement. The least expensive option would be building a new facility that includes a beach-entry to shallow water, as well as water slides and play features. That would cost around $3.1 million. Replacing the pool with a similar facility to the existing one would cost an estimated $3.5 million. The most expensive option includes water slides and a lazy river at a cost of about $5.3 million.

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Tonya Stinson, executive director of the Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau, encouraged the City Council to consider larger, more expensive options.

"We're all for tourism-driven projects," she said.

She said a larger aquatic center could be a draw for both the community and tourists.

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Roberts and Councilor Gayla McCulloch said they would like the future aquatic facility to offer a "wow" factor to people visiting the community.

McCulloch mentioned the Farmington Public Library as a current amenity with that kind of effect.

"We love our library, and people who come from outside our community say 'wow' when they see our library," she said.

In other business, the City Council today unanimously approved a $5 per vehicle entrance fee to use Farmington Lake. Officials said other fees, such as the boat inspection fee, will go away once the new fee is implemented.

The fee will help pay for operations and improvements at Farmington Lake. City Manager Rob Mayes said the fee is important because of the lake's popularity. After opening for swimming this summer, 41,000 cars visited the lake, according to Cory Styron, director of the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs department.

"We're essentially the victims of our own success," Mayes said.

He said the city was not prepared for how many people visited the lake, adding that the road to the area needed to be resurfaced over the summer.

"We were chasing our tails last year reacting to our success," Mayes said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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