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story.lead_photo.caption A rendering of the newly-approved Aquatic Center, estimated at a cost of roughly $3.2 million, is set up down the hall from the City Council Chambers in California's City Hall. The Council approved a plan to finance the project via a loan, with hopes to break ground in 2020 and open sometime during summer of 2021. Photo by Austin Hornbostel / California Democrat.

At its October meeting, the California City Council unanimously approved plans to proceed with a new Aquatic Park estimated at a cost of $3.2 million, targeting a 2020 groundbreaking and grand opening during the summer of 2021.

The facility, designed by Larkin Aquatics of Kansas City, will include a wide variety of amenities: an Olympic-sized pool, two water slides, a lazy river, two diving boards, a water playground for children, pool toys, a climbing wall, a seating area, and a new concessions stand, showers, and restrooms.

Alderwoman Resa Dudley said the city's membership in the Missouri Public Utilities Alliance should allow it to pursue funding for the project through a loan, rather than via city funds. The plan would be to borrow the entire amount and repay monthly over a term of 15 years, paying the amount back through funding from the city's Parks and Rec tax and income from the Aquatic Park.

Following approval, the Council now plans to nail down specifics for project payment — namely, getting loan paperwork in order — and then host a public meeting in early November to allow citizens to learn about the project in more detail.

"In my opinion, this is pretty much state-of-the-art," Mayor Norris Gerhart said. "It's a lot of money, but it's a nice facility."

Gerhart said one major benefit of the new facility is its potential to keep young families, a growing population in California, in the city in their search for family entertainment, on top of drawing more visitors from surrounding communities.

In other new business, the Council discussed logistics for negotiating an operating permit for the city's wastewater treatment plant with the Department of Natural Resources — the city applied for an extension to its deadline, pushing it to Nov. 1. The Council unanimously approved $12,500 to be allocated toward the use of consulting firms — Barr Engineering and Bartlett & West of Jefferson City — to help negotiate permit costs down.

Additionally, the Council unanimously approved a $32,675 bid through T&R Electric for materials for transformers for voltage conversion, and $995 toward annual maintenance of eCode360, a searchable online database of the city's codified ordinances.

The Council revisited a number of discussions from its September meeting. It agreed to target the January City Council meeting as a deadline for finalizing a new RV parking ordinance, brought up in a public complaint at last month's meeting.

Additionally, the Council approved an approximately $23,000 bid for piping to be used for the stormwater project on Latham Road. Previously, the Council shifted this to be a city project. Work on Latham Road likely won't result in any road closures, and should take only a couple months.

The Council agreed again to revisit discussions surrounding California Police Department security upgrades and a possible medical marijuana ordinance. The Council did have a rough draft of an ordinance to review for Monday's meeting, but Gerhart voiced concern about having something concrete in place to address impending approaches from the public to start medical marijuana businesses within city limits.

The Council approved ordinances recognizing the CPD's new policy and procedures manual — approved at last month's meeting — and amending the city's controlled substance and alcohol testing policy to account for Missouri's medical marijuana legislation.

Auditors will be present at the Council's November meeting to present the year's final audit report. The City Council's next meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 4.

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