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One-day pass at new pool could cost $8

LANGLEY — The new pool and recreation center the park district wants to build won’t be cheap — not to taxpayers and not to the people who use it.

O.R.B. Architect’s Geoff Anderson told pool supporters Thursday his target “build cost” will need $60 a year added to the current park levy to cover the $15.2 million construction bill. Park officials have not yet said the size of the tax increase they will propose to voters.

Anderson also estimated a one-day user pass at $8 per adult based on similar-sized facilities elsewhere. But he also said that long-term passes could bring user fees down.

The recreation and aquatic center is proposed to be built next to the Community Park’s entrance on Maxwelton Road. If a final design can be established, the district must file with the county by Aug. 12 to be on the November ballot.

O.R.B. Architects unveiled its latest plan for the facility on Thursday. It includes an outdoor six-lane lap pool, an indoor leisure pool with a water slide, changing rooms, a hot tub, two multi-purpose rooms for parties, plus offices, a small kitchen, a climbing wall and a fitness center.

The concept design met with a tepid response before a core group of 30 pool supporters. Many had questions.

Why is the lap pool outside? How much will it cost to add a roof over the pool later? Is there space to play water polo? Can the pools be heated by solar power? How much will the district charge folks to use the center?

“They had reservations, that’s for sure,” Park Commissioner Allison Tapert said later. “We’re trying to strike a balance between the finances — the money we have to work with — and the needs of the community.”

The input has some wondering if the proposal will indeed land on the November ballot.

“All of us feel there’s a real need for a public pool on South Whidbey,” Tapert said. “But based on last night’s meeting, it will be extremely hard for us to get a measure in time for November’s ballot.”

Park Commissioner Jim Porter said that sometimes it’s hard to get people to look at the big picture.

“Folks tend to get caught up in their individual concerns, but our job is to keep the project on track,” he said. “We need to examine the needs of a wide cross-section of the public, from tots to seniors and everybody in between.”

Porter added that the district has a tight timeline.

“Once we get all the data, we still have an education process to get the word out on why the pool and rec center is a great idea,” he said.

Anderson said he’ll have specific financial data within the next couple weeks, but whether that will give commissioners the time they need to make a final ballot measure decision is uncertain.

Parks commissioners will meet 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 11 for a final review .

Community Events, April 2014

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