The city of Roeland Park is accepting proposals from potential developers regarding the former swimming pool site at 48th Street and Roe Avenue. So far, two proposals have emerged — one for an extreme sports activity course, and another for a hotel.
“We are really in the beginning stages,” said Jennifer Jones-Lacy, assistant administrator and finance director for Roeland Park. “We’re basically looking for companies that would provide a regional draw for Roeland Park, and we would want them to complement each other.”
Although it’s early in the development process, Jones-Lacy said the city is eager to get things moving.
“The big sticking point is that we have a TIF (Tax Increment Financing district) that expires early 2018, so we are certainly under a tight timeframe,” she said. Tax increment financing is a tool that allows development projects to capture future property tax increases generated by the development to pay for eligible project costs.
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The other big challenge of the site is the caves underneath it that used to be part of the swimming pool facility. A study determined that the caves are not stable to build on top of, so the city plans to fill them to restabilize the ground. The city is also taking proposals for that work at the moment.
Jones-Lacy said the city will pay for the cave fix.
The old pool opened on July 4, 1957, and closed in 1993. The city has reviewed various proposals for retail and mixed use to redevelop the land in the intervening years and even considered building a new city hall there six years ago.
Roeland Park’s current aquatic center, located a few blocks away, opened in 1997.
Jones-Lacy said she hopes to have something to show Roeland Park’s city council in the next month. In the meantime, a redevelopment committee that includes Mayor Joel Marquardt and some of the council’s members is reviewing all proposals for viability.
The city has not held any meetings yet to get feedback from the businesses currently in the area.
Roeland Park’s Public Works building is also nearby, and Jones-Lacy said that in the future, the plan would be “to move public works into a different facility and have that land as well to build on.”