Trends Summer 2019 | Page 19

it’s nice out,” said Matt Schuenke, village administrator. “A lot of the responses we’ve gotten is that McFarland doesn’t have that – and why don’t we have that? Every time someone asks about that, we don’t have an answer for them.” They didn’t know how much it would cost to build a pool or a splashpad. Or how to operate such a facility. Or even where to put it if they opted to install one. “The whole feasibility study was conceived under the notion of helping provide us with some very high-level answers to questions that people have to help us in future planning decisions, should a project like this move forward,” Schuenke said. And that it did. Schuenke indicated that Ayres’ study gave Village officials reasonable, objective data that helped them rationally decide on aquatic- related next steps. “The work Ayres and their team did helped provide answers to some of those questions so that now, if we do want to pursue a pool, then this is what we have to look for, and this is how much money we have to raise,” he said. “It’s not such an unknown. It’s not such a scary thing anymore. We can understand more objectively what our targets are if we want to bring those types of projects forward.” For now, Village leaders continue to evaluate their options and weigh whether they want to build a pool into their five-year capital improvement plan. And they appreciate Ayres’ input and guidance along the way. “Sometimes more than half the battle is trying to convey information to the public so that they can understand and buy into it – no matter what the project is,” Schuenke said. “This is kind of a tough project because why do we need an aquatics facility in our community? And Blake could rattle off 10 perfectly acceptable reasons that people could accept.” “It’s a different issue than providing clean drinking water to your home or sanitary sewer service and garbage pickup or police,” he continued. “It’s a much different animal, and Blake was very responsive and knowledgeable of the issues surrounding that and did a good job of interacting and conveying that message to the public.” Page 19 and 20 photos: Constructed in 2018, SC Johnson Community Aquatic Center, located in Racine, Wis., is another well- designed pool project by Ayres Associates. │19