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Palm Coast Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 8 months ago

School Board considers plan that would keep pool, close tennis courts at Swim and Racquet Club

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The County Commission didn't object to the proposal when it was presented at a commission meeting Oct. 4. The county provides an annual $25,000 donation for the facility.
by: Jonathan Simmons Senior Editor

Flagler Schools is considering eliminating the tennis courts and tearing down a 25-year-old portable building at the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club facility so that the property can accommodate school district programs currently housed elsewhere, while keeping the popular pool itself open to the public, a district representative told county commissioners at a commission meeting on Oct. 4.

"We need to have community opportunities for [seniors] to be engaged and involved. ... Our intention is to completely continue with an organization that will allow for usage by our citizens.”

 

— PAUL PEACOCK, Flagler Schools chief of operations 

The plan, district chief of operations Paul Peacock said, is still conceptual. 

"We're just starting the process to go through the approval," he told the County Commission. 

The property currently has a pool, gym, sauna and tennis courts, and was given to the school district by the ITT corporation before the city of Palm Coast's incorporation in 1999.

It has since become a burden for the district, bringing in limited membership money but requiring expensive repairs as it's aged.

After the district considered closing it to the public several years ago, the facility's most avid users successfully organized to prevent its closure, and the County Commission pledged that the county would support the property with an annual $25,000 donation.

The district's latest plan, Peacock told the board, would relocate to the facility the district's TRAIL program, which serves students between 18 and 22 with special needs; the Step Up program, which serves special needs students over 22; the Rise Up alternative education program; and the virtual school program called iFlagler, which currently has 325 students.

Those changes would make the facility eligible for more funding from the state while opening up student stations at Matanzas High School and Indian Trails Middle School, where those programs are housed currently, Peacock said.

A gym building next to the pool could be reworked so that it could accommodate gym equipment fo all ages, or could be used for senior programs with crafts, games and technology instruction, Peacock said. 

"Some of those activities, all of those activities, none of those activities — it’s a work in progress with our board," Peacock said. "They’re working through the finances and things of that nature."

County commissioners didn't voice objections to the particulars of the proposal, but Commissioner Andy Dance, a former School Board member, said he's seen a lot of shifts in the School Board's leadership and hopes the current Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club proposal can survive such changes if the districts chooses to implement it.

"I know this is quite an investment, so I hope it sees its duration and they don’t go changing things with the next leadership," Dance said.

Peacock said he intends to see the plan through.

"I'm planning on seeing it through to fruition, sir, with everything I have available," Peacock said.

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