The following is written by Mark Hamilton, former Bonney Lake council member.
I guess all good things must come to an end. I’m saddened to read that the public swimming pool in Sumner will finally close for good. I remember swimming its lanes in high school swim class and later in the same pool family members learned the basic swim strokes, which was comforting when those children would go swimming during the summer months in Lake Tapps. Yes, a pool is about recreation, but it is also about public safety. No matter economic standing all children should learn to swim and at an early age. We live next to two large river systems and one of the largest recreational lakes in the state, Lake Tapps.
Why can’t our community leaders come together and make anew? Why not replace this tired old swimming pool in Sumner with a new regional public swimming pool built on the Plateau?
I’m encouraged to hear Mayor Neil Johnson of Bonney Lake has an interest in donating land to build a pool and save the aquatic programs for our Panthers and Spartans swim teams. But his city budget is too small to carry all the load of the building and running of a first class public swimming pool alone. He will need the on-going financial support of the Sumner School District and the support of the city of Sumner and even the city of Buckley and the White River School District. And let’s not forget Pierce County. For years the people living on and around Lake Tapps have sent millions of recreational tax dollars to the coffers of Pierce County with little to show for it. I remember the promise of a Buckley-Bonney Lake Regional Park on the Plateau in the 1980s. A regional swimming pool could be a way to see our recreational tax dollars coming back our way and not spent in other parts of the County.
The funding solutions are already there to save public swimming in East Pierce County, but it will take brave leadership and willingness to share the load. Pooling our ideas is where we need to start. I call on our public leaders to find that one solution and build a new regional public swimming pool.