Thursday, October 18 , 2018, 11:50 am | Fair 70º

 
 
 
 

County Supervisors Push Forward Project to Reconstruct Pool in New Cuyama Built Near Sinkhole

A New Cuyama pool built near a sinkhole soon will be reconstructed, with completion scheduled for late 2016 or early 2017.

Residents from the small community of mostly low-income families living in eastern Santa Barbara County have waited more than two years to hear the pool — described as a main Cuyama Valley community meeting place — would be rebuilt, and the frustration showed Tuesday during the county Board of Supervisors meeting.

The board unanimously voted to authorize county General Services to advertise for construction bids for the Joseph Centeno Cuyama Pool and Aquatics Complex, a rebuild that could cost about $2 million.

The original $2.4 million project was completed in 2009 but was closed indefinitely in October 2012 after the complex experienced a sinking event, causing damage to a 25-meter pool, a wading pool, deck areas and a small building housing restrooms, outdoor showers and pool mechanical rooms.

Since then, county General Services completed an investigation into the pool failure, which in 2013 confirmed the presence of hydro-collapsible soils at the site.

Cuyama Valley residents were offered a county-funded bus shuttle service to a pool in nearby Taft in the meantime.

The county is still wrangling with its insurance company to regain losses, thus far receiving $1.3 million to reimburse for expenditures already incurred, projected redesign costs and a partial payment towards construction.

General Services has spent approximately $310,000 of those funds on services associated with the investigation, project management, soil reports and design.

Board approval is contingent on insurance OK of the final repair plan and commitment to fund the total project budget.

The county could be at risk if supervisors don’t move the rebuild forward. Since the original pool project was funded with $400,000 from Community Development Block Grants, which can’t be used on other types of projects, the county would be in danger of having to repay that money. The rest of the first pool was paid from the general fund.

Lynn Carlisle, executive director of the Cuyama Valley Family Resource Center, brought 88 letters and drawings from local students, encouraging officials to rebuild the pool.

“They are far more eloquent than I could ever be,” she said. “I know that Cuyama is far away … but it clearly is a big topic for these kids. The pool was a huge gift to the community and our kids.”

If the pool had been built anywhere else in the county, officials wouldn’t be as reluctant or slow to fund construction, Cuyama resident John Mackenzie said.

Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino said he took issue with the perception that officials have sat on this project, when the county has been waiting to complete the investigation into why the pool failed and is still working with the insurance company.

The letters from school children and an email from a Cuyama teacher were upsetting, Lavagnino said, since much of them alluded to the county ignoring New Cuyama.

“The commitment on the board is that we are building the pool,” he said.

First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal sympathized with Cuyama residents, who live within his district, saying, “the community is frustrated.”

General Services expects to return to supervisors with a recommendation and request to award a contract this summer.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >