City asks Walla Wallans for input on pool plans

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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.

Comments

nextgenpub 11 months, 2 weeks ago

A big square filled with water? No wave pool, no lazy river? Why not just go to one of the colleges or the YMCA? I'm from CP - so I don't get a vote. It amazes me that Milton-Freewater has a pool (thanks Humbert), Pendleton, Hermiston, Clarkston, all have aquatic centers. Walla Walla doesn't have a mall or an aquatics center. I've always loved the Walla Walla Valley - but the idea of relocating someplace else gets more tempting every year.

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Myinput 11 months, 2 weeks ago

A pool for swim meets is great and a zero entry pool for tots too - BUT - it MUST have a DIVING BOARD AND SLIDE(s). The old pool used to have a high dive - that's a huge hit a the Pendleton pool - why not put that back in.

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thrifty 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I think those that want something special are free to install it in their backyard at their expense. The issue of the public paying for a pool for those that want special features has been voted on several times.

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GeneandCassie 11 months, 2 weeks ago

My vote goes to keeping the birds and Aviary in Pioneer Park.......

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RetiredinWW 11 months, 2 weeks ago

As I recall, Mr. Dumont stated in an earlier UB article, that no matter the increased tax to build a new water park of any kind a general fund subsidy would be required to operate it. At least long term.

So...... What general fund expense are you willing to give up to get a pool or water park? Cops, fire, streets, library, parks? Pick one!

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adpomraning 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Friends; I would like to add the perspective of one Walla Walla City Council person. The initative to do a professional engineering cost estimate and on-line-survey of the city is driven by the recent phone survey of us that placed a new city pool at the top of the citizens wish list. The survey said to me that most important to the citizens are the maintenance and operation of ongoing general funding of streets, water, law enforcement, fire, emergency services, parks, solid waste, sewer, ... But based on the survey numbers I speculate that the strong "pool wish" in the context of a series of defeated pool bond measures means many people may still want, and may vote to support a some kind of pool project.
Please contribute to the on-line pool survey to help guide the citizens pool group and your City Council. You can find it on the City's web site under the "Open Government" icon. We are listening. Thanks, Allen Pomraning, Walla Walla City Council Member

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grammy97 11 months, 2 weeks ago

To Allen Pomraning, how many enginering estimates do we need to pay for? These are quite expensive costs to start with!

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