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Sonoma officials wrestle with plan for pool funding

Sonoma city officials spent nearly two hours Thursday night hashing out the terms they want met to lend $500,000 to a group pushing to build a community swimming pool in El Verano. In the end, no decision was made.

“We’re trying to have the perimeters of the contract written out before we vote on it,” Councilman David Cook said. “It’s very complicated.”

The Sonoma Valley Health and Recreation Association approached the city after it fell short of the $1.7 million needed to complete the purchase of the former Paul’s Resort, where it hopes to build a $10 million to $12 million aquatic complex.

The closing date on the purchase was extended to mid-September, which will give the city more time to decide how to proceed, Councilwoman Laurie Gallian said. Talks about how much the group could pay back in free swim lessons and when interest rates could kick in on the remaining loan arose during Thursday’s meeting, she said. Discussions are expected to continue at the city meeting Aug. 18.

Gallian noted that she, Cook and Councilman Steve Barbose all will have to vote in favor if the loan is to be approved. Mayor Tom Rouse and Councilman Ken Brown recused themselves because they sit on the association’s board with Favaro.

“It’s one of the most challenging policy decisions that will come before the council in years,” Gallian said.


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