Westchase Swim Team Expansion Plans Withdrawn
After a month of opposition from Westchase lane swimmers and West Park Village residents, the Westchase Community Association’s (WCA) announced on April 6 that the recently approved expansion of the TBAY Westchase swim team to West Park Village’s pool has been withdrawn by the swimming coach.
At their Feb. 9 meeting, the WCA board, after hearing from Westchase Swim Coach Alex Richardson and the WCA’s management team, gave the green light to Richardson to expand the swim team to the second pool. Initially slated for August, the expansion meant that the team would be using both the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center pool on Countryway Boulevard in the afternoons but would also take up lap swimming lanes at the West Park Village pool.
A handful of Westchase adult swimmers and West Park Village residents spoke out against the expansion at the March 9 WCA Board Meeting, causing directors to commit to reconsidering the expansion at their April 13 meeting. Over the following weeks, the board received a constant stream of emails opposing the expansion and saw near unanimous opposition from the voting members representing West Park Village. Residents protested that while paying for the use of Westchase’s pools, they would no longer have access to swim lanes after work. Other residents expressed concerns about increased traffic, street parking and noise in West Park Village.
In an email on Thursday, April 6, Collazo announced to Westchase Voting Members that the expansion to the West Park Village pool had been withdrawn. Speaking to WOW, Collazo stated that Richardson had done so voluntarily.
Collazo’s email to VMs stated, “TBAY swim team operations will continue, business as usual, at the Countryway pool. The ‘pool program expansion’ agenda item has been deleted from the board's agenda of April 13. Furthermore the April 13 board meeting is being relocated back to the WCA office on Parley Drive.”
Collazo continued, “Thank you for your patience as we worked through this important issue. This outcome puts the debate to rest and we are moving on to the next project.”
Collazo added that following a VM request, the board would consider at their April 13 meeting a plan for free and open morning swimming for WCA members at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center. “Under this plan,” he wrote, “the Countryway pool would be open for lap swimming from 5-7 a.m. or 5:30-7:30 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There would be no participation fee charged to members of the Westchase Community Association.”
The current early bird swimming program is self-funded by participants, who cover its annual $10,157 cost. Under the new model, the association and its homeowners would cover the early bird program's costs.
The board, Collazo stated, would likely propose a six-month trial of the program beginning May 1.
By Chris Barrett, Publisher