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Pool to remain closed next summer

— The Thompson Park pool in The Dalles will not operate this summer, but remain closed until completion of a replacement pool scheduled to open on Memorial Day 2015.

The Northern Wasco County Park and Recreation District board voted unanimously to close the pool at their regular meeting Wednesday night, noting that operating the pool would require completion of an expensive three month structural test to confirm that the aging facility is safe for public use and would cause delays in starting construction that could jeopardize opening the new pool for the 2015 season.

"I can't see taking a 7 to 10 thousand dollar gamble on opening the (old) pool, I'm willing to sacrifice one year to be sure it doesn't become two," said board member Dean Dollarhide. "The sooner we start, the sooner we can finish."

Prior to the vote, project consultant Mark Seder presented a preliminary project schedule for building the new pool, approved by voters in November, that showed physical construction beginning in May of 2014 and ending in May of 2015. The schedule allowed for an 80 day training and testing period following completion to allow park staff to prepare for an opening on Memorial Day, 2015. He noted that a late start would be possible, but would add cost to the project and would cut into the 80 day "buffer" period needed to train staff, test the facility, and get the pool up and running. District Executive Director Scott Green added that in addition to the extra cost, building the project in phases, to allow the pool remaining open as long as possible could raise safety issues, and possibly cause problems with dust and debris getting into the pool.

"I think getting the new pool constructed for Memorial Day, 2015, has to be the priority," noted board member Marcus Denney. "Even without the bond passing, I don't think we could have opened the pool anyway, with the financial issues and so many problems," he added.

Other board members agreed, and voted unanimously to not pursue opening the pool for the 2014 season.

With the pool closed, the district will have funds available to possibly assist the swim team and other pool users looking for alternatives, and board members discussed looking for ways to help those hundreds of pool users to be left high and dry next summer.

With The Dalles pool closed, the closest public pools are in Hood River and Dufur.

Comments

taxpayer11 8 months, 1 week ago

Just an upset tax payer

We the voters approved the replacement of our swimming pool because it is expensive to maintain.

We the voters approved new office space for a few public employees that work for us.

We the voters were convinced that all of this was really important.

And, I bought into the need for a swimming poor, but did not agree that we needed new buildings given the huge amount of unused office, retail etc. space in our town. Then some really believe that we may actually grow at a very rapid rate over the next few years even though The Dalles core population has not substantially increased in 50 years. Therefore, we the taxpayers should really step up our support of dreams that probably won't occur.

Then, we are told that the swimming pool will not not be ready for our children (grand children) next year. .

Do we do without a pool so office space can be created for our employees? Which is going to be ready first, a pool that was why we voted, or unnessary office space for our employees? Will our new employees need new furniture? What about new office equipment? What happens to the pool if there are cost overruns or any unforseen delays?

Looking forward to follup story

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