Pool plan gets blessing

Momentum

 

Tonasket Pool Assoc. unveils new plan for city pool

TONASKET – The Tonasket City Council voted Tuesday, Dec. 9, to draft a resolution in support of the Tonasket Swimming Pool Association’s fledgling plan to construct a new swimming pool to replace the one that was condemned more than three years ago.

The citizens’ committee has spent that past year working up a plan that would serve the needs of the community while also being affordable.

“We really needed a pool that would serve our purposes, would be easy to maintain, and would be something Tonasket could be proud of,” said association president Norm Weddle, adding that the plan the committee settled on differed from the preliminary designs the city paid Pool World for nearly a year ago. “It’s not that the Pool World designs weren’t a good idea. They seemed to us to be expensive to maintain; the other thing is they would encroach on the park and take quite a bit of space. This design would fit the footprint of the old pool. It may go a few feet into the park, but mostly back toward the parking lot.”

Weddle said there were a number of “minimum requirements” that the association decided any plan must include:

  • 75 foot long, six lane pool to accommodate a swim team;
  • ADA access for the disabled;
  • safety for children, which includes shallow-depth areas for play, as well as formulating regulations for parental guidance of small children;
  • a 1-meter diving board, placed to minimize the diving well and maximizing the shallow areas;
  • new bath house facility.

The project will likely cost somewhere from $1.0-1.5 million.

Weddle added that after looking into an enclosed, year-round pool, that it was not a viable option, agreeing with earlier assessments as to the financial burden.

“However,” Weddle said, “a pool that is in a rectangular shape would lend itself to adding a bubble for extending the season … that’s one reason we wanted to pull it into this kind of dimension.”

The proposal includes solar water heaters to help keep the pool heated overnight during the summer.

At this point the association is attempting to raise all of the require funds privately, rather than applying for state or federal grants. By doing so, the project could also accept some in-kind donations and volunteer labor, while accepting government funds would eliminate that possibility; however, donated funds could also be used if the association applied for a grant that required matching funds.

“We didn’t like the idea of having to pay somebody to come in and build a pool,” Weddle said. “It wants to build the pool with local money … we have about $430,000 committed so far.

“We are a 501(c)3 … we can take donations and give you a tax deductible receipt.”

Contributions can be mailed to Tonasket Pool Association, P.O. Box 1217, Tonasket, 98855 and more information can be found at the association’s website, www.tonasketpool.com.

Council member Scott Olson asked if the committee had planned on how annual maintenance costs – which at various times have been estimated at anywhere from $30-50,000 – would be paid.

“This is great; how do we pay the maintenance?” he asked. “We haven’t been able to find the money to put in our budget even what we used to put in.”

“We’ve talked about, after raising the money for the pool, of trying to put together an endowment,” Weddle said. “It might take a few years to work through that. There’s also a group of people very interested in trying to go for a parks and recreation district … the problem with that is you don’t want too big an idea of what you want to do. People would need to know exactly what it’s for.”

City planner Kurt Danison, who has advised the city on most things involving the pool for years, approved of the association’s work.

“I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “Supporting them to move ahead with this is awesome. You’re not being asked at this point to apply for grant funds, you’ve asked the right questions about maintenance …

“You’re not comitting the city to any course of action other than to approve this group of private citizens to move forward with the design of a pool that someday, if they’re successful in raising the money, they’ll be building in History Park.”

Budget Approved

The council formally approved its 2015 budget, with revenues and expenditures projected to be $2,807,843.

The most significant expenses included the sewer fund ($445,100), law enforcement ($431,232), water fund ($431,190), sewer reserve ($331,600), city streets ($186,302) and government services ($111,833).

The primary sources of revenue included $552,407 in taxes (led by $248,000 in retail sales tax, $93,657 in general property tax and $85,000 in PUD utility taxes); water fund revenues ($431,190); sewer fund revenues ($445,100); and a variety of transportation taxes and funds ($185,302 total).

Council member Scott Olson expressed his appreciation to clerk/treasurer Alice Attwood for her work in building the budget after months of council and committee discussions.

“I just appreciate her effort in getting this budget together,” he said. “It really reflects what we’re about.”

Police Station Roof

City manager Hugh Jensen said he was trying to find a way to deal with the leaky roof of the police department. Extensive repairs are likely needed, though the building itself is old enough that such a project would not be worth undertaking.

“That roof is in very bad shape,” Jensen said. “Really bad. It must be 60 years old, and it wasn’t put on properly (to begin with)… It’s past its life.”

“That building is beyond repair,” Plumb said.

Vugteveen said that the police station needed to be moved to the top three of the infrastructure priority list.

“We’ve discussed it for years,” she said. “We agree on it but we’ve never moved forward with anything.”

Plumb asked Police Chief Rob Burks for an assessment of what the department needs. He said that permit administrator Christian Johnson had done such an assessment at the time the fire hall was built.

“He said that to tear down and put in a new building would cost about $440,000, and that was four or five years ago,” Burks said.

This was the Tonasket city council’s last meeting of the year; the council next meets in council chambers on Tuesday, Jan. 13, at 7:00 p.m.

About Brent Baker

Brent, is a former reporter/photographer for the Gazette-Tribune and sometimes works as a freelance sports reporter for the G-T. Prior to working at the G-T, he was the sports editor for Sunrise Publishing from 2000-2005 in Michigan. He subsequently owned and operated Buckland Media, a high school sports website, in Michigan until 2010. He and his wife Kim, who have an adult son, moved to Tonasket in 2010. Brent worked as a full time reporter/photographer at the G-T from 2011 - 2014).