For more than four decades, the Enumclaw swimming pool has entertained children, provided valuable exercise for adults and hosted competition among high school athletes.
So, it maybe comes as no surprise that the popular venue – owned by the city and located on Enumclaw School District property – is showing signs of age.
With a nod toward the realities of a facility in need of repair, combined with an estimated price tag of perhaps a half-million dollars, the city is turning to the public for advice.
During his first meeting as mayor, Jan Molinaro announced he’s looking to form a citizen advisory committee that will chart a course of action for the pool. He hopes to pull together a group of five to seven people by February and conduct a council study session in March; the committee is expected to conclude its work by late summer, eventually forwarding a recommendation in time to be included in the 2019 budget.
A BIT OF BACKGROUND
It was the late 1960s when King County embarked on an ambitious plan. The Forward Thrust initiative was passed by voters, resulting in swimming pools being built throughout the county. Enumclaw’s pool sprang to life in the early 1970s.
All went well for nearly three decades, but pools don’t always age well. In possession of multiple, aging facilities, the county took a dramatic step in 2002, announcing it would call a halt to all its pool operations by the end of that year.
Looking for a solution that would keep the pool open, the county offered to give the facility to the city. As part of a package deal, the county also turned over ownership of the Enumclaw Golf Course, which was leased to a private operator.
The golf course was producing noteworthy revenues at the time and the city envisioned using golf money to help pay for pool operations. In addition, Enumclaw voters overwhelmingly approved a February 2003 levy, agreeing to increase local property taxes to help fund the swimming pool.
Over time, the once-successful funding formula crumbled. By 2008, golf course revenues had diminished and available funds were redirected to maintain the course. Since then, the pool has been supported through the city’s General Fund; beginning with 2017, the necessary funding exceeded the money being raised through the 2003 levy.
The result is a venue that continues to age, supported by a funding mechanism that no longer works.
POOL GETS PROFESSIONAL EVALUATION
To get a clearer picture of what needs to be done, the city commissioned a study by Aquatic Commercial Consulting, a California firm. The report – which can be viewed online as part of the City Council’s Jan. 8 agenda packet – provides a laundry list of suggested improvements.
The bottom line: $463,000 in estimated repairs and improvements.
“Some might view this as a ‘negative’ report,” consultant Richard Young wrote in his detailed report to the city. But the intent, he added, was to raise awareness of issues that could help the pool be operated in a safer, more efficient manner.
The most costly fix, Young suggested, would be to the pool deck. A complete replacement carries an estimated of $235,000. Work to the pool tank could run $134,000 and a handful of others projects – ranging from dressing room doors and lockers to plumbing repairs – make up the remainder of the estimated tab.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Anyone interested in joining the pool advisory committee is urged to contact City Clerk Maureen Burwell. She can be reached by phone at 360-615-5608 or by email: email@example.com. Burwell will provide a one-page application form that must be submitted and Molinaro will conduct phone interviews before selecting members of the committee.