Monday, July 16, 2012
Regarding the proposed aquatic facility on the primary ballot Aug. 7. I talked to Parks and Recreation Director Jim Dumont about the design we will be voting on.
It includes a wave pool and one other water park type attraction. The most sensible part of the plan does include lanes that can be used for laps in the deep end of the wave pool, when it is not in use.
Mr. Dumont, who I am convinced has about the most experience for this project of anyone I have talked with (he was the backbone of a facility that was built in Boise run jointly by the YMCA and the city), made it clear that a city the size of Walla Walla will take many years to pay back the bonds on such a facility, if it ever gets funded in the first place.
If we can't afford a facility in the first place, then getting back to grassroots, has got to make the most sense to anyone who was part of the many sports activities around Veterans Memorial Park in the summers, which include a swimming facility, don't they? I presented Mr. Dumont with a plan similar to what the Metro YMCA in Portland has used for its pool facility.
The plan includes a 25-yard pool with a translucent panel type roof. The roofs are put together by a proven manufacturer for aquatic facilities. Some are retractable, but this one does not have to be. My experience swimming under a translucent roof was a real surprise of feeling like swimming outdoors (lots of daylight).
Naturally the facility would be at capacity many days in the summer. It could make its quota, and shut down on Aug. 21, along with Milton-Freewater. The important option the other plans did not include was that upon demand, the facility could run six or 11 months out of the year.
Growing up, many of us locals had a lot of fun in pools that were designed for training. If we need to be realistic, this plan has everything we need, and enough daylight that some just might think, "Why didn't we think of that before?"
Tom R. Phinney