A stroke left John Terry aphasic and paralyzed on his right side a decade ago. And four years ago, at age 71, his wife, Ebba, who suffers from arthritis, fell and had to have a hip replaced.
Ebba Terry wrote to the City Council, asking councilmembers to put a bond measure on the November ballot for improvements to the aging therapeutic warm pool located at Berkeley High. She said the couple’s doctors and adult children say that “our over all physical and mental health appear noticeably better when we are able to attend the water therapy sessions on a regular schedule, three times a week.”
At its meeting Tuesday, the City Council directed its staff to assess what pool renovations could be financed for $3 million and what could be bought for more.
A $3 million bond would cost homeowners, over a 20-year period, $2 per year if they own a house assessed at $100,000 and $8 per year if they own a house assessed at $350,000.
Pool needs include a new water distribution system to clean the water every four hours and a new air circulation system, said Sasha Futran, a consultant working on the renovation project.
The pool is kept at about 90 degrees and the environment is hot and humid.
“The paint is peeling off; the metal is rusting; there are broken tiles; there are toilets without seats,” Futran said.
The school district will be renovating the locker rooms and building a new school pool within the next few years and the current locker rooms will become unavailable. So new locker rooms will be needed as well as accessible toilets – only one stall is currently accessible.
The school district uses the pool for 10-15 hours a week for its special education classes. The district has agreed to pay for the renovated pool’s utilities, although no formal agreement between the city and district has been signed.
“This whole council’s for it. That in itself is amazing,” quipped Councilmember Betty Olds.
In the next month or so, the council will formally vote on a number of ballot recommendations.
The staff is working on wording for a parks and landscape tax, which would cost all homeowners $15 per year; a street lighting special tax, which would cost $5 per year; and a library tax, which would cost $4 per year for homeowners whose homes are assessed at $100,000 and $13 per year, for homeowners with domiciles assessed at $350,000.
The staff is also working on wording for a ballot measure to increase the property transfer tax from 1.5 percent to 2 percent. Funds raised would be used for affordable housing. This measure was proposed by Councilmember Linda Maio, but has not yet been discussed by the council.