Yakima City Council wants to revamp pools and add one on the east side of town
YAKIMA, Wash. - Just a few weeks ago, Yakima City Council was considering closing the Lions Pool, due to a tight budget.
Now they want to remodel it and possibly put another pool in the east side of town.
"It's amazing that we're able to go from talking about closing them to modernizing them in such a short period of time," said Yakima City Councilman Jason White.
White said the city did a 180 and wants to keep city pools open and even make some upgrades.
Council members are now asking the city to conduct a study to look at what can be done to revamp Yakima's two current aquatic centers, the Lions Pool and Franklin Pool and also possibly adding a third on the east side of town.
The study is going to cost around $120,000.
But where is that money coming from?
The city said the funds will come from a real estate excise tax and not the general budget. This tax money can be used for capital improvement projects but not maintenance and operations costs.
"We're building these and trying to manage them so that they have a very minimal maintenance and operations cost," White said.
He said this will save the city money in the long run.
Community members such as Matthew Sagen said he is happy to see the city taking these steps to improve local pools because he thinks they bring a sense of community.
"It also helps with civic engagement and getting people involved in their community," Sagen said. "Public pools are a great way of doing that, is a good starting step."
City council said with a new aquatic center going up on 40th Avenue, the Lions Pool on Pine Street and Franklin Pool off Tieton Drive, the only community without a pool is the east side.
White said that's why council is proposing to see if they can build an outdoor pool at Martin Luther King Jr. Park.
"It spreads out the pools so we'd have equity throughout the entire community," he said. "So there wouldn't be any community or part of town that is left out."
White said the city's budget is tight but if they can combine all the pool projects, that can open doors to grants and capital funding.
City council said they are in the initial stages of this project, figuring out what is possible and what the city would be able to afford.