Plans change for new Poinciana Community Center
By Tiffanie Reynolds
A presentation from Osceola County Commissioner Brandon Arrington at the Aug. 12 Association of Poinciana Villages (APV) board meeting has temporarily halted plans for a recreational pool in front of the Poinciana Community Center.
The APV board voted to delay its decision for the pool for a month, but continue with the plans for renovating the current Poinciana Community Center building as well as a new community center across the street. Plans for a pool and a county-funded community center at Vance Harmon Park would put two Poinciana community centers and pools within a mile and a half of each other across the Osceola County line. Arrington proposed that the APV board could instead use its money to fund the construction of the pool by the county’s recreation center, which would be a comepitiive pool.
“The idea for a new community center is to allow more community groups to have the opportunity to form and meet, a better opportunity for public meeting, but also to create a one, centralized polling place for Osceola County voters in Poinciana,” said Arrington. “It was going to serve several different aspects, but with their plans to decide to move forward on the Polk county side, we can’t contribute to that. I just didn’t think that was the best business move to be moving forward like they were.”
Osceola County already allocated $600,000 for initial site work and design, and plans to budget $1.2 million for construction of the community center. Because local, state and federal funds can’t be used to build pools or other aquatic facilities in the county, Osceola reached out to APV to form a partnership on the center. The county would fund and build the community center, while APV would fund and build the pool beside it.
If both the community center and pool is built, Arrington said that the it would enable Poinciana schools on the Osceola County side to create a swim team or diving team as well as provide a space for swim classes that are convenient for the community to get to. He hasn’t heard any answer from APV staff yet on the partnership.
“The government usually works at a different pace than the private sector, so we have the ability to move faster. I think that is what the situation is now,” said APV Manager Mark Maldonado.
The recreational pool behind APV’s new community center would cost $997,000, and the county’s proposed pool would cost between $1.2 and $1.5 million, said Maldonado. The APV managing company plans to hold a community meeting to gauge what pool Poinciana residents would prefer, which would be presented to the APV board. Maldonado said that the APV could fund both pools in the $4.4 million allocated for the project, if the community and board wanted both.
The board’s eagerness in moving forward with Poinciana Community Center renovations – which include adding a new basketball court, tennis facility and 12,000 square feet to the current center – and the new pool also spurred disagreement with Poinciana community leaders and Don Gordon, director of Village 7 on the APV board. Since the board voted to proceed with the project in December, Gordon and others have called for a market feasibility study to be done before going ahead with construction.
“When you’re going to be developing with $4.4 million dollars of other people’s money, community money, you got to know exactly what you’re going to be spending the money on and you got to spend the money in the community’s best interest,” said Gordon. “A market feasibility study would determine what is best for the community. It’s really the best investment that the board could make. The board approved it unanimously and it should have been done.”