Dear Neighbor:

I want to apologize upfront for the mixup with respect to the Cammack Village Voice that was mailed out to each of you earlier this week. The “letter format” on one side of the Cammack Village Voice purporting to come from my office as the Mayor was intended to be inserted into the newsletter itself as several paragraphs regarding the Cammack Village Pool as opposed to being a separate letter from the “Office of the Mayor David Graf.” In any event, this letter as set forth herein on official City letterhead, does come from my office and is intended to provide you with an update regarding the status of the Cammack Village Pool in 2021 as well as future plans regarding the pool.

Let me start off by saying, everyone (including the Mayor) would love to see the Cammack Village Pool open up this summer. My wife (Manal) has stated (even though we are members of the Little Rock Racquet Club where she is an avid swimmer), “how nice it would be to walk down the street and swim at the Cammack Village Pool.” Despite everyone’s desire to open the Cammack Village Pool there are several hurdles to opening the pool as outlined below.

Previous Approval of the 2021 Budget in December of 2020 did not Reflect the Pool Being Open in 2021. As many of you know the Cammack Village Pool (like many pools across the country) was closed last year as a result of COVID-l9. Working on the City budget for 2021 in November of 2020 with our City Treasurer, a decision was made that the budget for 2021 would not reflect the opening of the Cammack Village Pool for 2021. The assumption not to open the pool in 2021 for budget purposes was due to:

  1. the uncertainty of the vaccine rollout in November of 2020;
  2. the fact that our pool has historically lost money over the years.

In exercising prudent stewardship with the funds that exist within Cammack Village, while in the middle of a pandemic that occurs every 100 years, we felt it was best to preserve cash by assuming  that the pool would again not open in 2021. The 2021 budget was approved at our December 2020 City Council Meeting by an initial motion to approve the 2021 budget by Councilman Cody Kees (as  reflected in the minutes) and ultimately was unanimously approved by all four City Council Members that were in place as of December, 2020.

Fast forward to April of 2021 and many neighborhood pools around town have announced that they will be open for business over the summer. At the April Council meeting, I appointed a task force to review the feasibility of opening the Cammack Village Pool in 2021. The task force is comprised of Councilman Kees and Councilman
Ryan O’Malley (who has volunteered her time on many projects in Cammack Village which includes the Cammack Village Voice). Factors in determining whether or not to open the pool include:

  1. Is the pool operational and safe for patrons?
  2. Is there enough interest within Cammack Village to support opening the pool this
    summer?
  3. Do we have the personnel to be able to properly staff the pool?
  4. Does it make economic sense to open the pool?

Over the last 5 years that the Cammack Village Pool has been open (prior to COVID- l 9), the pool lost on average over $18,000 per year. The last 3 years that the pool has been open resulted in a loss on average of over $23,000 per year. These losses have been “subsidized” over the years by several private donations and the tireless efforts of a long time Cammack Village resident (Debbie Eldridge who will not be involved in managing the pool in 2021 if it is opened). Prior to Debbie, Fred Clark another long time Cammack Village resident (who passed away several years ago), served as the go to person and was just as instrumental as Debbie in making sure that the pool was always running on all cylinders.

The latest information I have from the task force for purposes of their initial feasibility study is that if the pool opens a pool membership price for a resident of Cammack Village will be $225 and a pool membership price for a nonresident will be $350. The task force further indicates that while an adult pool manager has been identified with a professional pool management company (that would replace Debbie), they will only be officially present at the Cammack Village Pool for 16 hours each week. Furthermore, I am told by the task force that they have decided that if the pool opens there will be no concessions sold at the pool (although I am told you will be allowed to bring in non-alcoholic drinks and that food trucks will be present at certain times).

Potential Little Rock Racquet Club Option. As an alternative to opening the Cammack Village Pool, I have talked with the Little Rock Racquet Club (the “Racquet Club”) about possibly entering into an arrangement whereby Cammack Village would rent the facilities offered by the Racquet Club from Memorial Day through Labor Day for the citizens of Cammack Village. Each household of Cammack Village that wanted to use the pool would pay $225 for the 2021 season to use all of the facilities associated with the Racquet Club. The actual amount that Cammack Village would pay the Racquet Club as rent for its citizens to use the facilities at the Racquet Club is still being discussed. Please bear in mind that the ultimate cost of renting the facilities of the Racquet Club for the utilization of Cammack Village residents may turn out to be cost prohibitive for the City in which case the Racquet Club would not be an option. We will know more about the feasibility of this option in the next couple of weeks as you provide your input to Andy Morrison at City Hall as requested [below].

Please Provide your Input on this Issue by Contacting Andy Morrison at City Hall Regarding the 2021 Pool Options. Please call Andy Morrison at (501) 663-4593 to express your interest in one of the following ways regarding the pool for 2021:

Please Choose One:

  1. Despite the many hurdles (both financially and logistically), I support the opening of the Cammack Village Pool in 2021 and plan to purchase a membership to use the pool.
  2. I would like to use the facilities at the Racquet Club for the summer of 2021 (subject to the City of Cammack Village being able to agree on an appropriate amount of rent with the Racquet Club for this amenity).
  3. I do not support opening the Cammack Village Pool in 2021.

Fall Town Hall Meeting to Discuss Pool Options. As your Mayor, I work for you the citizens of Cammack Village. Whatever pool option is ultimately decided by you the citizens, it will in fact be implemented for 2021. The more important long term question for each of you as to the Cammack Village Pool is “what do we do going forward?” This Fall the City plans to have an open Town Hall meeting (date and time to be determined) to discuss the options regarding the possibility of constructing a completely new pool for the citizens of Cammack Village. Obviously, a new pool would require some type of bond financing (absent large donations from one or more donors). Please note that at this meeting in the Fall all COVID-19 safety protocols as required by law will be observed by the City of Cammack Village. I hope you and your family have a safe and happy summer.

 

Sincerely yours

Dave Graf, Mayor

Download the original letter (pdf)