WALLA WALLA — Two concepts to rebuild Memorial Pool have resurfaced and city officials are now floating both ideas to local residents to find out which, if any, they will pay to have built.
On Thursday, the city launched an online survey via its Open City Hall website asking people to vote on the pool concepts and leave comments.
“What we are trying to do is find that in-between space that works for as many people as possible,” Park and Recreation Director Jim Dumont said. “The last two bond issues did not include a traditional pool and I think that has always hurt us.”
Earlier this year, members of the Rebuild Memorial Pool Committee convinced city officials to pay for a $7,500 study to looking at reusing the existing facility to create a 50-meter by 25-yard Olympic pool.
The study by Rowley International was completed in May. It affirmed what officials had been saying: the pool walls and supporting infrastructure are in poor condition and not reusable.
The study also showed the shower and changing building would have to be rebuilt because it will not meet health standards and Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
The study also found that building an Olympic-sized pool would cost less than half of the proposed $8.7 million aquatics center that failed to get voter approval in August of 2012. That design included numerous slides and other recreation facilities but lacked a competition pool.
The new concepts, however, are designed for lap swimming, competition and swim lessons.
“I would say swim lessons for me top the priority,” Rebuild Memorial Pool Committee member Becky Kennedy said.
The two concepts the committee is now pushing for would both have a 13-foot depth at one end of the Olympic pool to accommodate starting block dives. At the opposite end, the pool would have a 3.5 foot depth to accommodate swim lessons.
The city is asking the public if it wants a $3.46 million Olympic pool or a $5.7 million Olympic pool that includes a separate zero entry children pool and one slide.
Both plans would include a new shower and changing facility.
In addition to determining which pool to build, city officials want to determine how much residents should pay to keep it running.
Rowley estimated annual operating expenses at around $150,000. Adding the children’s pool would increase the cost to $200,000. The estimates did not include offsetting revenues from admission, concessions and rentals.
The proposed admission prices listed on Open City Hall range from $2 to $3.50 for children and $3.50 to $5 for adults.
People are also being asked if they will consider a 5-cents per $1,000 property tax levy in exchange for free entry for all city residents. The levy would cost the owner of a $200,000 home $10 a year
The survey will be available for voting and comments for the next 29 days at wallawallawa.gov.