Every kid should learn to swim. I thought that was obvious, but in Walla Walla it’s more like impossible because the city let Memorial Pool sink into disrepair.
Why doesn’t Walla Walla have a pool?
Waitsburg has a nice little pool where the kids can swim and play all afternoon for a buck and a half. Prescott also has a pool. So do Dayton and Milton-Freewater.
Don’t blame it on the voters, who wisely rejected levies that proposed extravagant water parks (for too many millions of dollars) that wouldn’t even function well as a city pool.
The primary uses of city pools are: 1. Swimming lessons; 2. Exercise (lap swim, aerobics, etc.); 3. Swim team practice; 4. Kids cooling off, playing safely and getting exercise; and (unfortunately) 5. Cheap baby-sitting for parents who dump off their kids. A city pool must serve all of these purposes, especially providing affordable swimming lessons.
Build a cost-effective rectangular pool, 50 meters in length and at least six-lanes wide. Three feet deep in the shallow end, increasing to 5 or 6 feet in the deep end. No diving boards, no water slides, no wave pool, none of these expensive nuisances that invite accidents and double the costs of liability insurance and maintenance.
Build some inexpensive restrooms for changing, heated outdoor showers, snack bar and a nice picnic area in the shade of the trees. Actually, the layout of Memorial Pool (minus the diving area) would be a good starting point.
Hire a schoolteacher to manage the pool for the summer, and hire high-school and college students for guards and instructors, beginning at minimum wage and moving up in wages as they gain experience. I guarded and managed pools in high school and college, and my daughters guarded at Memorial Pool and the Milton-Freewater pool. It sure beats flipping burgers, so you don’t mind working for minimum wage.
A simple, well-managed pool could provide cooling recreation for everyone in the hot summer months, while offering good summer jobs for students and teachers.
Voters will support a pool that is cost-effective and serves all the users of a city pool. Keep the construction costs, operating costs and admission prices low so that every kid in Walla Walla can afford to play in the pool and take swimming lessons.