Prosser seeks state help in fixing pool —

Prosser seeks state help in fixing pool

Ross Courtney, Yakima Herald-Republic, August 4, 2008

City officials are asking the state for a little help in refurbishing their 50-year-old pool.

City administrator Charlie Bush and Councilman Terry Chambers made a formal plea in Olympia to the state Recreation and Conservation Office for a $500,000 grant to pay for about half of their plans to renovate the municipal pool.

The pool has cracks in its deck, corroding pipes and rest rooms that don't meet federal disability requirements.

"It's at risk every year" of being shut down by the state, Bush said.

The city has a tentative $1 million plan to fix those items and add a few extras to the 40-yard pool.

Those extras include a furnace to heat the water, a new filtration system, spraying water toys and a slide. The bottom of the pool also would be raised to a maximum of six feet deep.

The plans also call for a bulkhead in the middle of the pool to create a 25-yard section on one side and a 10-to-15-yard portion on the other. The larger section could host swim meets, but contestants must make more flip turns.

The pool is used by the Prosser Piranhas, an AAU swim club, and a combined Prosser and Grandview high school girls' team in the fall. Some swim team parents last year lobbied for expanding the pool to a 50-meter tank. The city never solicited estimates, but pools like that typically cost between $3 million and $4 million, said Cody Butcher, the parks and recreation director at the time.

Before this summer, the city replaced a fence with a tighter mesh chain-link and buried the toddler wading pool because it had only one drain, which could have trapped children underwater. Both improvements were required by the state.

If the city receives the grant, it would renovate the pool before the 2010 summer season. The city has earmarked $200,000 toward the project so far. If it gets the state grant, the remaining $300,000 would come from the city or private donors.

The Recreation and Conservation Office contributed $60,000 toward Prosser's $120,000 skate park in 2006. At the time, however, it was called the Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation.

City leaders estimate the pool costs $37,000 more each year to operate than it makes in revenue.

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