I am in favor of an aquatic center in Walla Walla, but am disappointed in the way our city planners have gone about it. They should have followed the successful business principle of "crawl, walk, and then run."
With lessons learned from the now defunct Memorial Pool, we're ready to walk. However, a complex water park estimated to cost around $8 million is anything but that.
A more manageable facility with a higher probability of success would be something akin to the Milton-Freewater Aquatic Center. Containing a wading pool, swimming pool, three-story slide, grass and barbecue areas, the Milton-Freewater facility was built more than 15 years ago at a cost of around $1.5 million, I'm told.
The pools provide kids and adults enough room to wade, play, slide, swim laps or take swim lessons.
Milton-Freewater has been able to keep costs down to $120 for a family of five for an entire season, or $3 per day for youths 17 and under who are not on a family season pass.
Contrast this affordable venture to the estimated $8 million Walla Walla water park proposal that would not be as functional as the M-F facility and would add $100 per year to property taxes on a $200,000 home for nine years -- in addition to a proposed $5-$7 daily admission price.
For these reasons, I will vote against the water park initiative on Aug. 7. It's interesting that the election date is set for what could be one of the hottest days of the year, but let's hope that cooler heads prevail.