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G'view parks and rec service area board select pool option 2 for upcoming election

GRANDVIEW - The Grandview Parks and Recreation Service Area board has selected a pool plan and now is moving forward with preparing for a May 17 vote of people within the area, which encompasses the Grandview School District.

The option the board is proposing to voters would have both the zero-depth pool, as well as a separate competitive lap pool.

The pool would be able to accommodate swimming lessons or swim team practice and open swim at the same time. There would also be options to leave lanes open in the lap pool for those who want to swim laps.

The pool design currently calls for a 25-meter pool, which is the minimum required for swim team competition.

Grandview resident Lois Johnson suggested the board look at expanding the pool to a 50-meter pool, which is the size of the pool in Sunnyside. With most of the communities in the Mid Valley having a 50-meter pool, Grandview would fall in line. The current pool size is 40-yards.

Board member Liz Charvet agreed.

"Do you know what people would say, 'you paid how much for a smaller pool'," said Charvet.

Robert Morales, another board member, added that he feels the smaller pool would backfire.

City administrator Jim Sewell spoke on behalf of Mayor Norm Childress, who was unable to attend the Wednesday night meeting. Sewell said that Childress' preference would be option 2, the one the board ultimately voted to put before the voters. At the same time, Childress suggested that the multipurpose room be either a part of the project or something that could be added in the future.

The board voted to let voters decide on whether or not to support option 2, but they also wanted the architect to look at upgrading to a 50-meter pool and design the pool houses with the idea of expanding and adding a multipurpose room in the future.

The cost estimate of the pool as proposed without the multipurpose room or the larger lap pool is $5.2 million, which would cost tax payers 74 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

Three plans were considered by the board including the original model voted on in 2000. The largest facility would have been open year-round. The option would cost an estimated $6.9 million. In a levy, the cost to taxpayers would be about 99 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. Included in the plan was an indoor lap pool and spa and a 200-person multipurpose room, as well as a zero-depth pool and lanes for competitive swimming.

"This was the original master plan or dream of the community," said Dave Copeland, president of the group.

Long-time Grandview resident Vivian Martin voiced her opinion on the option saying that currently a bridge club she plays with in the Tri-Cities faces astronomical rates to rent the senior center.

She added that groups are finding the same thing in the Lower Valley.

"I see our senior center over here being used very little," she said. "We have that facility and it's not available to the community."

Martin said her objection is to building a facility with taxpayer dollars and then charging so much to rent it that it's prohibitive.

"I've lived in the community 60 years and support the community. That's why I feel very badly about being so against this," she said.

Martin said she has always been against having the pool on West Second Street.

"It's hot out there by the traffic," she said. She added that she took her children to the Prosser pool when they were growing up because it was cleaner and not right on the road.

Copeland assured her that whatever plan was chosen, there would be hills sloping into the pool area so that there would be some privacy. He added that the pool would have landscaping around it.

Sewell added that there is a possibility that the city could receive a Community Development Block Grant to add the multipurpose room. Block grants are awarded to encourage public access to buildings for people with a low or moderate income, the disabled, elderly and children, he added. Building the room with CDBG grant funding would address Martin's concerns with high-cost rental space for groups, such as her bridge club.

Another option, for about $3.2 million, is a stripped down pool facility, that would cost tax payers 46 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

The stripped down pool wouldn't have the competitive lap tank, water slides or multipurpose room, among other things.

"It would not have the things that make other community's pools successful," said Copeland.

To develop a similar facility with only a lap pool, Mike Carpenter, director of the Grandview Parks and Recreation Department, said would put the community back in the same situation it's currently in, with a pool that is not making money.

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