Monday, June 21, 2010

Kirkland and Sammamish are lukewarm to a community aquatic center

Prior to the closing of  Hartman Pool on June 18, Redmond City council had been actively seeking a city partner for funding a community aquatic center.  

During joint meetings with Kirkland council on May 28 and Sammamish council on June 8, Redmond floated the idea of creating a new taxing district to fund a community aquatic center.  Kirkland staff estimated a new aquatics facility would cost between $42-46.5 million.

According to the Kirkland Reporter:   Councilmember Allen said the Redmond pool was "on life support" and that recommended economies of scale between Kirkland and Redmond could pencil out.   Redmond City Councilmember Pat Vache' felt that, "Trying to combine parks departments would create all sorts of complications that we are not even thinking about," saying "Cities have different philosophies on how to run their parks."  Another issue of combining the city's Parks departments would be existing funding.  Mayor Marchione wasn't present at the Kirkland meeting. 

According to the Sammamish Review:  Council members in Sammamish grappled over the question of why citizens would want to tax themselves for a new facility when they could wait for a neighboring city to build one and go use it.  While the Sammamish council said they’d keep the idea in mind as discussions continue, their response was lukewarm.   "Read More" for my comments:

COMMENT:  So far, it appears Redmond council is all alone in finding funds for a new pool.   In the past, providing a pool for Redmond has been highly desirable and a hot issue with the community.  It became a campaign issue for Mayor Marchione.  Will Mayor Marchione consider using the Redmond Foundation as a funding mechanism?  He's a founding Board member.   The Foundation was set up to raise private/public funding for the Downtown Central Park.  But, the Foundation's mission statement is broad.  It is trying to raise funds for the new Redmond Bike Park, so far will little success.  The city has donated $50,000 to the Foundation already.  Will the city increase their "donations" to the Foundation to fund the pool?

By Bob Yoder
Sources:  Redmond Reporter / Sammamish Review


Anonymous said...

This is very unfortunate. Losing the pool means that some children will not learn how to swim. My husband grew up in a city without a pool and he cannot swim. (He took lessons as an adult but he'll still drown in deep water.)

All of my kids learned to swim at the Redmond Pool. They stood on the metal tables in the shallow end when they were little and we put up with the crowded locker rooms.

Before the parks department adds artificial turf or lights to another baseball or soccer field, they need to first make sure that the city has a pool where kids can learn to swim.

Paganne said...

I can't believe we are visiting this topic yet again. It was only a few years ago that King County deemed most of the pools as detritus and either tried to sell them outright or just shut them down. Now they want to get more money out of an already strapped economy and workforce to build a bigger, better mousetrap. Thanks, I'll pass on this cheese.

Anonymous said...

Incredibly at one time in this country's history, we could afford not only to maintain our public facilities but to build them as well.

The closure of the Redmond public pool eliminates yet another healthy source of recreation accessible to the majority of the citizenry.

Indeed, it is a surprise that at a time when we, in the affluent community of Redmond WA and surrounding towns can afford luxury sports facilities for some sports (e.g. the Woodinville baseball fields complete with lighting and astroturf - and the steel-superstructure over the park across the street, and on and on...), we cannot afford to even properly maintain a community swimming pool. This pool closure simply adds to a longer list of pool closures in the northwest. We have seen the downtown Woodinville pool close, the Northshore (Bothell) pool close, the Cottage Lake pool close (now slated to reopen under YMCA management?), and now Redmond.

As this continues, we will soon arrive at the day when no community pools are available, when only the wealthy will be able to swim - in their underutilized private swimming pools that gulp energy to keep them warm - so that only their owners and guests can use them.

C'mon Redmond and others in Washington - let's support modest facilities (not luxury facilities) for many public recreation opportunities.

The Redmond Pool is not "cheese" - but a wholesome and MODEST facility providing kids with a great activity - teaching kids (and some adults) a lifelong skill that can be practiced in pools and outdoor waterways.

We don't so much need a luxury Redmond-Issaquah pool facility as much as we need SOME decent pools for families and kids to use. ...and yes, a few SIMPLE parks with picnic benches and trails - even sans grand facilities and paved parking - would benefit our community!

Bob Yoder said...

The Redmond Hartman Pool is 40 years old. For the past seven years, the city has subsidized the Northwest Center Pools operation, giving the organization $100,000 each year! I don't understand how the city can plan for elaborate new parks but leave our high demand community pool facilities out to dry. Where are our priorities?

Anonymous said...

I am beyond frustrated and angry at the Marchione/Vache/Cole Regime on this.

Where is the $300,000 City web site we were taxed for through BPP? With everything else the City is engaged in taxing us for, I am completely amazed they can't keep a pool open. Now only the wealthy folks who belong to expensive health clubs will have a pool for kids and families to enjoy.

Shame on you Redmond.