LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Aquatic center an economic attraction

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I agree with Gregg Loney's letter to the editor in support of the aquatic center.

As a member of the Walla Walla City Parks, Recreation and Urban Forestry Board, I have served in an advisory role as plans for this venture first materialized. Working with the city, architects, community members and other members of the Board, we believe we have designed an aquatic center that meets the needs of many and serves several purposes.

In times of economic hardship it is important to address the financial commitment, however, this situation is unique in that it will be paid off in nine years without any, and I mean zero, continued need for taxes to pay for it. That means salaries for the lifeguards, utilities and custodial work will be paid for through the user fees.

We can't say that for the recently built fire and police station. I agree with Mr. Loney in that additional taxes are rarely a good thing, but the aquatic center is an investment in our economy and our youths.

Consider the additional revenue this aquatic center will add to our community when families visit or when Walla Walla is host to an event or tournament. In July, Walla Walla Valley Little League will host the state tournament for the 11-12 year olds. Imagine how much money we would have been able to bring in had the aquatic center already been built.

Add in the Peach Basket and the Sweet Onion Festival and it's easy to see how even more desirable Walla Walla could be to tourists, or even businesses looking to relocate or start up adding another layer to the economic attraction of an aquatic center.

Another important issue Mr. Loney brings up is the investment in our youths. When kids are restless or bored, they sometimes get into trouble. Let's give them one more reason not to, encouraging exercise and healthy fun with friends.

I like what the Aquatic Center has to offer our community. It pays for itself in nine years with built-in allowances for the next phases of construction, like a lap pool and a bigger water slide; it gives vacationers one more reason to come, stay and play in Walla Walla; and it offers something fun for our youths.

Please vote "yes" Aug. 7.

Chris Blackman

Walla Walla

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