LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Fun in the water should be available in Walla Walla

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The time is right.

There will be a levy election Aug. 7 to see if Walla Walla city residents will pass a $7.7 million levy to build and maintain a family aquatic center.

Here are some facts about the aquatic center and its impact on the community provided by the Walla Walla Water Works Committee. Committee members are Ellen Wolf, Pat Yenney, Peter Swant, Terri Croghan, Beth Swanson, Jennifer Northam, Gregg Loney, Beth Clearman, Rebecca Thorpe and me.

Over $1 million of private money has been pledged contingent upon passing the levy.

Design has been revised to assist in bringing costs down while still offering viable features that will attract enough visitors to help ensure sustainability.

There will be four 25-yard lanes for lap swimming at designated times and during swim classes.

There will be exercise time and classes and swim lessons.

There will be up to 50 summer job opportunities.

There will not be a 50-meter competitive pool because it is not sustainable from fees and the City Council won't support it.

There will be scholarships available and separate funds have already been pledged.

We will use the Memorial Pool existing footprint and parking at Borleske. Picture boards are available that illustrate a workable layout of facilities and features.

Cost for an average home with assessed value of $180,000 is about $7.50/month for only nine years.

Usage fees will sustain operations -- it's the recommendation of the committee that fees be uniform.

This is a 9-year levy that can be brought to market at some of the lowest rates in decades, which allows for the much shorter bond commitment of nine years instead of 20.

The city once had five pools open for seasonal family enjoyment, but for the last seven years the closest public pool is in Milton-Freewater.

The old Memorial Pool was costing over $60,000 a year for operation and maintenance, the mechanical and heating systems had either failed or were failing. Our City Council couldn't continue to support the constant drain on the budget

The time is right for our community to step up and round out activities for our families and children -- Walla Walla has a strong tradition of supporting families and children. Please consider supporting our effort to make summer fun in the water available for young and old alike.

Jim McCarthy

Walla Walla

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