Is $340,000 too much to provide access to swimming pools in The Villages?

The Project Wide Advisory Committee is looking at a potential $340,000 pricetag for adding aquatic chairlifts at 34 swimming pools.

Members of the committee overseeing amenities south of County Road 466 in The Villages took on the topic Monday morning.

PWAC has been adding chairlifts upon request, including chairs recently added at pools at Largo and Hemingway.

Recreation staffers show off a chair lift at a swimming pool.

There are 67 swimming pools under the purview of PWAC, 34 of which do not have chairlifts. New pools being constructed have been getting chairlifts, per a change in the code as of 2010. These 34 pools without chairlifts were grandfathered in, as they were constructed prior to 2010.

A chairlift costs about $10,000 and the annual maintenance cost is about $500 per chair.

The aquatic chairlifts receive “very limited usage,” according to Recreation Director John Rohan.

PWAC members Chuck Wildzunas and Peter Moeller both described residents who need an aquatic lift and the importance of access to the pools for those individuals.

Community Development District 6 Supervisor Tom Griffith, a former accountant, noted that the Americans with Disabilities Act benefits “a limited number” of people. But he said the access means the world to those people.

“Consider more than the numbers,” Griffith urged PWAC members.

However, CDD 7 Supervisor and PWAC member Jerry Vicenti said he would hate to see money spent at pools where no need exists.

“You have to admit $340,000 is a lot of money,” he said.

PWAC took no action on the matter at Monday’s meeting, but will consider it as part of the February agenda. PWAC members said they are hoping to hear from residents about their thoughts on the addition of the aquatic chairlifts.

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