City council throws its support behind new aquatics center aquatics center

The aquatics center has been discussed for decades, but is finally beginning to make some progress.

Although it is most likely several years away from becoming a reality, members of the Langley City Council threw their full support behind a South Whidbey aquatics center.

The council voted during a meeting last week to create a resolution supporting the proposed aquatics center on Maxwelton Road.

The proposed aquatics center is a partnership between the South Whidbey Parks and Aquatics Foundation, a nonprofit raising funds for the project, and the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District, which will own and operate the center.

Richard Bacigalupi, a member of the foundation’s board, and Matt Simms, a member of the parks and rec district’s board, both spoke during the meeting.

The aquatics center has been discussed for a few decades, but is finally beginning to make some progress.

Next steps for the project include hiring a third-party consultant with expertise in aquatic facility planning to prepare a comprehensive feasibility study.

Simms said there is a strong need for a pool in the community, from health and wellness, including physical therapy, to family activities. Of 700 responses on a survey assessing the parks and rec district’s priorities, 54 percent of respondents ranked the aquatics center as their No. 1 choice.

A preliminary design of the center shows a community pool with eight lanes, a smaller pool to teach swimming and an even smaller pool for physical therapy needs. In addition, there is a “dry land” section of the center where more physical therapy will take place.

Bacigalupi explained to the council that he and Simms are seeking statements of support from community stakeholders. Simms added that letters of support, which are non-binding statements, will help with the funding and grant applications for the aquatics center.

At Council Member Peter Morton’s suggestion, the council decided to take things one step further by creating a resolution that expresses the city’s support for the project.

The motion passed unanimously.

Mayor Tim Callison commented that the design of the therapy pool, in particular, is great for South Whidbey’s aging population.