In addition, the Kentucky General Assembly earmarked $1.4 million in state funds for the pool in 2006. However, construction must be complete by June 2010 under state deadlines.
Late last year, officials finalized a design that includes a six-lane main pool and a separate warm-water therapy pool for use mostly by seniors and children.
City Commissioners have agreed to hire a Winchester firm, Codell Construction, to manage the build for a $197,000 fee. The company will oversee a dozen contractors, which have submitted bids for different aspects of the facility.
Burtner said officials must still draft and approve an interlocal agreement stipulating the details of the arrangement. But, he expects work to begin within the next month. He added that volunteers plan to organize fundraising efforts to help hold down costs.
Once complete, estimates indicated that the facility will generate enough revenue to remain mostly self-funded. However, the Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation Department, which receives funding from city and county budgets, plans to pay the pool's utility costs.
The Fiscal Court was originally scheduled to vote on the plan Wednesday. Court members postponed the matter to allow for public comment.
Proponents of the project say it will add a new recreational and therapeutic element that will improve quality of life and help the community attract growth. Alternatively, critics say the pool with create a drain on finances during a strained budget year and tough economy. Some also have reservations on whether the facility will prove financially viable in the long-run.
Magistrates Joe McCord and Pam Blackburn voted against the plan, citing the county's projected money woes in the 2009-10 fiscal year.
"With our financial situation, I just don't think that we can do it," McCord said. "We will have to pay over $30,000 a year, I guarantee it, to keep it going."
Tom Lykins, one of two residents who spoke in opposition of the project Tuesday, said the court should prioritize roads, fire protection and law enforcement ahead of the pool.
"This is a mistake," he said. "This just isn't the time for it."
Still, more supporters attended the meeting than opponents.
Pat Brown said 96 people are signed up for local water therapy classes, which are currently held for a few hours each week at a local hotel and the YMCA. Fifteen participates must drive to other communities due to lack of pool space.
"We really need a therapeutic pool," said Brown.
Another woman, Rosemary Walker, predicted that the project will be successful over the long term.
"I do think that this pool â?¦ will be a big asset for the whole community," she said. "I think that it can be self-sustaining with the right kind of people running it."
Contact Mike Wynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.